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F1 in Mumbai? Not just yet

November 14, 2006 10:55 IST

If you hoped to see the likes of Fernando Alonso, Ralf Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonnen and Jenson Button zooming in their mean F1 machines on race tracks of Mumbai in the near future, then you have to wait a while as the state government wants some private player to come forward to take care of the infrastructure needs of the project as it feels it doesn't have the money for such an extravagant event.

The top bureaucrats in Mantralaya say, if you do the cost-benefit analysis for the F1 project then the project doesn't sound so very lucrative. It doesn't generate enough tourism, and the state will have to pump money into the project, said senior official.

An official further said, "State government will have to acquire nearly 500 acres of land for laying the track and for constructing a stadium. Besides, this state will have to invest another Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) in creating the infrastructure to ensure the F1 race takes place in Mumbai."

The state will have to invest on creating additional parking space at the Mumbai international airport, as all the F1 teams travel on their own jumbo jets.

The state will have to provide a road which matches the international freeway norm between the venue and airport and also construct the five star hotels and state-of-the-art hospital in the vicinity of the track if we have to go for an F1 circuit, an official pointed out.

Besides, the state government is facing tremendous opposition to acquire the land for special economic zones (SEZ) and other infrastructure projects around Mumbai and if we start acquiring the land for the project which is essentially a recreational activity of the affluent class, it will provide ammunition to opponents of the government, the official said.

As the F1 race is an affair of four to five days, the number of tourists it will attract will not be worth the investment from the state government. So if any private player comes forward then the state will provide all possible help. But, the state is not likely to invest in the project, said an official.

Makarand Gadgil in Mumbai