Japanese government’s official lending arm JICA will give financial assistance of around Rs 130 crore for building a modern convention centre in Varanasi, the constituency represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Towards this, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) today signed a grant agreement with the government for up to 2,240 million yens (approximately Rs 130 crore). The Project for Construction of the International Cooperation and Convention Centre in Varanasi was part of the Japan-India joint statement in November 2016 when Modi had visited Japan, JICA said in a statement.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was on a two-day India visit that concluded yesterday. The design of the Varanasi Convention Centre (VCC) was revealed in Ahmadabad during the two prime ministers annual summit yesterday. “The VCC is the first of its kind in Varanasi and will function as a platform providing the opportunities for social, cultural interactions and knowledge exchange for the public, thereby contributing to the social-economic development of Varanasi,” JICA said.
The grant agreement was inked here between JICA India Representative Takema Sakamoto and Economic Affairs Joint Secretary S Selvakumar. The agency signed another agreement with India to provide Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan of 16,825 million Japanese Yen (approximately Rs 1,000 crore) to the Government of Gujarat for ‘Gujarat Investment Promotion Program (GIPP)’.
The programme aims at improving and developing the investment climate through strengthening the policy framework and facilitating development of trunk and industry related infrastructure in a timely manner, thereby contributing to increase of private investment in Gujarat including foreign direct investments. JICA also committed ODA loan of about Rs 6,000 crore for procurement of 200 electric locomotives for the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC) project.
The statement further said the convention centre will be meant to nurture the cultural and social exchanges and knowledge sharing amongst various domestic and international participants gathering there. The sophisticated convention centre with a seating capacity of 1,200 will have a main hall with a full flying tower, a gallery, meeting rooms besides a parking facility for 120 cars.
JICA said the VCC is to be a green building and will be built in a manner ideal for holding all types of conventions. Since 1984, JICA has extended around Rs 18,000 crore (3,05,060 million Japanese yen) through Official Development Loans (ODA) for development in Uttar Pradesh, where Varanasi is located.