JANUARY 23, 2009
Talking of India
There is a lot of discussion at the moment about the planned Indian Grand Prix, which was pushed back to 2011 a couple of months ago. According to our sources, the plan remains the same for the moment with the circuit being built in the Greater Noida development, as was announced in 2007. Greater Noida is a planned city which aims to become a high technology cluster with educational establishments, a large number of international companies and a major Expo Centre for international standard exhibitions and conventions. There should also be the new Taj International Airport that is planned at Jewar, on the plains of the River Yamuna, to the south east of New Delhi. This has been victim of political problems of late and has been delayed but it has been agreed in principle by the Indian government.
The most important element of the new plan is the Yamuna Expressway, which will link New Delhi with the city of Agra, location of Taj Mahal, India's most important tourist destination. This will pass close to the racetrack. It is being built by JP Associates, a subsidiary of the Jaypee Group, a vast and diversified industrial conglomerate. This is involved in civil engineering, cement, hydroelectricity, real estate, highways and hotels. It is controlled by one of India's richest family, headed by Jaiprakash Gaur. Among its other activities Jaypee owns and operates four five-star hotels in the area and is developing real estate on 450 acres at Greater Noida, where it is building golf resorts, villas, townhouses, penthouses, condominiums, studio apartments, commercial complexes and shopping malls.
JP is going to build the 3.1-mile racetrack on a 700-acre site. It has been designed by Tilke Associates.
The Gaur Family is heavily involved in the project as Samir Gaur, the son of mogul Jaiprakash Gaur, is the man in charge of JPSK Sports, the company that will promote the race. This is a subsidiary of JP Associates.
In recent days JP Associates has signed a deal to build the 650-mile Ganga Expressway Project that will connect Noida to Ballia in the eastern part of the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is the biggest infrastructure project undertaken in the country so far and aims to transform the economy of the region. With such substantial government funding behind it, JP Associates should be in a position to build the F1 circuit and run the event even with the global economic crisis.
The Yamuna Expressway should be finished in 2010 but there have in recent days been problems in the region of Mathura, where protesters, demanding better compensation for their land, burned down a warehouse. The local police opened fire on the protesters and one was killed.