Industrial investment

Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed made a two-day jaunt to Mumbai to explore possibility of major industrialists agreeing to invest in J&K State. His personal interaction with at least four big industrialists in Mumbai has brightened the prospect of the industrialists investing in the State. The Chief Minister has earmarked some sectors for enhanced industrial activity. These are telecommunications, power and tourism. The Chief Minister interacted with four business tycoons, namely Anil Ambani of ADAG, Subash Chandra of Zee Media, Arun Nanda of Mahindra Group and Nikhil Meswani, Executive Director of Reliance Industries Limited. It was perfectly right for the Chief Minister to motivate the business houses for investment in the State by informing them how his Government has created environment conducive for hassle-free private sector investment in the State. Apart from removing bureaucratic bottlenecks, in physical aspect also many supportive steps are already underway. He informed them that the Union Government assured him of four-laning of the National Highway by 2017. At the same time as work on rail link between Jammu and Baramulla is going on in full speed, it is hoped that after the rail link is established, trade and commerce of the State will receive great boost upwards.
We appreciate the initiative of the Chief Minister of wooing the business tycoons. We understand that they had some reservations in the past in investing in our State. Armed insurgency has done great harm to the economy of the State. As such, it becomes important to do all possible to see that the state returns to normalcy and at the same time initiate efforts to induce business houses to invest. It appears that Anil Ambani has assured the Chief Minister that his company’s cooperation in investment in IT Sector would generate employment for 3000 youth in the State. The plan, which Ambani could imagine, was of establishing 1000-seater call centres and a Dhirubhai Ambani Management Instituted. Inception of this institute will enhance the employability of skilled human resource. Ambani has promised to depute a team to the State after Diwali, which will present the State Government a blueprint of cooperation between his company and the State Government. With Subhash Chandra of Zee Media, the issue of establishing two amusement parks in proximity of Ranjit Sagar Dam in Kathua and Wullar Lake in Bandipora district to boost the State’s tourism sector.
A team will travel to J&K in the next couple of months to assess possibilities of setting up of Essel World-type amusement parks at the identified locations. In his talks with Arun Nanda, the CM discussed the possibility of developing ‘Tourism & Handicraft Villages’, similar to Interlaken in Switzerland. In addition, he also discussed the issue of setting up of two IT Parks in J&K, on pattern of Chennai, in Tamil Nadu.
All this sounds good. We had been regularly stating the need and relevance of the State approaching big business houses for investment in the State. Private investment would also mean sharpening competition with public investment and improvement in quality service. The Chief Minister believes that the State has considerable potential for intake of investment and satisfactory output. We hope that in changed environs this will become a reality. Investment on large scale and in key sectors is crucial to economic development of the State and banishment of unemployment. This will be for the first time that major corporate house in the country will take initiative of investing in the state. The Chief Minister, on his part, has assured them of all facilities and easing of formalities so that investment is made without hassles.
This is a welcome initiative. However, we will say a word of caution. Earlier also, the State had approached some business houses in the country for investing in the State and actually some of them did come forward. What happened to those initiatives should be a lesson for the coalition government while it is taking new initiatives. The mistake and pitfalls that were there should be avoided at all cost. Once there was the project of introducing modern methodology in fruit industry. Collection of fruit in the orchards, making jam and juice of apples and related activities, were publicized with great fanfare. Even collection centres were identified mostly in Rafiabad. However, what happened to that project nobody knows. It was liquidated and finally disbanded. This should not happen. It is the responsibility of the Government to see that the proposals are not entangled in plethora of files and finally abandoned. That will earn us a bad name and we shall not have the face to approach other industrialists later on. Therefore, the crucial point is that if the investment in these sectors goes on satisfactorily, it will pave the way for larger investments by the same and other corporate houses.

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