In a boost to the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Events (MICE) market, Delhi is all set to receive a state-of-the-art exhibition-cum-convention centre (ECC) by 2025. The project, spread across 90 hectares or 900,000 sq metres, will come up in Dwarka and will be located at a distance of three km from the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
The ECC will have a massive exhibition space of 200,000 sq m and a 60,000 sq m meetings and conventions space. The venue will also include 3,500 hotel rooms for delegates. Also, the multi-purpose arena in the ECC will have a seating capacity of around 20,000 people. The complex will have a 27,000 vehicle car parking.
The country boasts of a few big convention centres such as the one in Pragati Maidan and the Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre, but a world-class centre is lacking. The Dwarka ECC will be looking to fill in this space.
Asia accounts for only 14.3 per cent of the MICE market in the world and, out of that, India’s share accounts for just 4.9 per cent. In comparison, China accounts for 68 per cent of the Asian share in MICE business and trails only the US in the market globally.
The Dwarjar project was conceived in 2010. However, land acquisition from the Delhi Development Authority delayed it and the process was finished only in September 2016. From December this year, the space for hotels, commercial and retail outlets will be leased out and the project is all set to roll ahead.
The Development of Exhibition-cum-Convention (ECC) Centre project at Dwarka, accompanied by supporting components, was approved by the Union Cabinet at a cost of Rs 25,703 crore and is expected to be completed by 2025. Once fully operational, the government expects it will put the national capital in the same league in the MICE market as that of Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
ECC, Dwarka and allied infrastructure projects will follow the PPP and non-PPP modes, including exhibition and convention spaces, arena, trunk-infrastructure, Metro/NHAI connectivity, hotels, office and retail spaces etc.
The driving factor behind the project is also to promote schemes like Make in India, tourism, trade and commerce, exports, business tourism etc. According to estimations, the government expects ECC, Dwarka will generate an annual demand for at least 100 large international and domestic events. It expects to receive around 10 million annual visitors by 2019-20 and 23 million after the second phase in 2025. It expects the delegate attendance for conventions to be around 1.5 million annually after 2025.
The exhibition halls, convention centres, meeting facilities, banquet halls, auditoria, hotels, F&B outlets and retail outlets will be mutually beneficial and will be able to function independently or combined, depending on the event requirements. Also, the idea is to put the project on the scale of a Central Business District that will have retail space, commercial office space, hospitality, entertainment lifestyle and other such services for end-users.
Allied infrastructure is a key component and several departments will work to achieve the end goal. ECC will be connected by an arterial road and rail network. The Airport Express line of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is being considered for extension from Dwarka Sector 21 to the ECC complex. It is proposed that the complex will have a dedicated station along with three entry/exit points within the complex and the line’s construction could be completed by as soon as December 2019.
The National Highways Authority of India is also a key partner in the development. It has prepared a plan of dedicated entry and exit routes to the ECC from its north, east and west ends. These will be done via Urban Extension Road-II and the Dwarka Expressway, which has still not reached completion. During mega-events, it is proposed that the interchange should be on Dwarka Expressway.
For the construction, the government will incorporate a Special Purpose Vehicle with 100 per cent equity from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. The budgetary support provided by the Centre will be Rs 2,037.39 crore to the SPV. This will be provided over a period of three years as a fund for trunk infrastructure, a section of exhibition centre, foyer, convention centre, metro connectivity, NHAI road connectivity as well as payment of land cost to DDA, water and sewage infrastructure, railway land for Metro linkage and other non-PPP expenses.
A government-guaranteed loan of Rs 1,381 crore will also be mobilised from the market. Centre has also directed utilisation of Rs 4,000 crore by monetising government-owned land and the annual project revenue by the SPV. The revenue from land monetisation along with annual returns by the SPV are to be used for funding non-PPP elements.
The phase 1 of the ECC project which comprises trunk infrastructure, exhibition and convention centre will be commissioned by December 2019, according to the plan. The completion of the phase-2 which includes full realisation of the project is expected only by 2025.
Another important highlight is that the mega project is expected to create around five lakh job opportunities (direct and indirect).