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China industrial park near Nashik

Mumbai, Feb. 21: A China industrial park will be built near Nashik over 2,000 acres in the first such enclave to come up in India.

China’s consul-general in Mumbai, Liu Youfa, mentioned the plan — pitched as a hub of high-end manufacturing and IT firms — during a meeting with Maharashtra governor K. Sankaranarayanan at Raj Bhavan today.

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang had during his New Delhi visit in June 2013 proposed five such parks, to which India had agreed in principle. One each was to come up in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

The Centre fast-tracked the process of setting up such estates ahead of Manmohan Singh’s visit to Beijing in October.

Today, Liu told governor Sankaranarayanan that the 2,000 acres had been identified near Nashik, which possibly attracted the Chinese because it is a throbbing industrial centre and close to both Mumbai and Pune.

The proposed park will have 20 to 30 Chinese units, most of them dealing with high-end manufacturing. All will be non-polluting. The park could generate employment for nearly 3,000 people, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said after the meeting.

When it comes up, the park will be one of the largest such clusters in Maharashtra. Nashik alone has six such hubs set up by the state-run Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation and another 10 built by co-operatives.

Mahindra and Mahindra, Siemens, Crompton Greaves, Kirloskar Industries, Jindal Steel, Larsen & Toubro are among the big firms that have units in the district.

The park plan assumes significance as trade between India and China is booming. It touched $64 billion (Rs 3.96 lakh crore) in 2012-13. China is keen to push up the volume up further.

During the talks today, envoy Liu also offered Maharashra China’s expertise in developing its infrastructure. He told the governor that market surveys were being conducted to identify new areas of commercial co-operation between the two countries.

Liu touched on education, too, mentioning the Confucius Institute set up with Chinese funding at Mumbai University last year. He said Beijing wanted to start a martial arts programme at the institute to train varsity students in self-defence.

Established in July 2013 in collaboration with Tianjin University of Technology, Confucius Institute involves an estimated funding of $150,000 to Mumbai University. The aim is to promote Confucious philosophy, Mandarin language and Chinese art and culture.