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Industry Inc. pledges big

Ranchi, Feb. 16: Key Union ministers and leaders of India Inc. today pledged to put their might to fast-track Jharkhand's growth story on Day One of the state government's maiden Global Investors' Summit in Hotwar, the three-hour-plus inaugural ceremony witnessing a packed house of over 5,000 delegates from India and abroad.

True to his promise, chief minister Raghubar Das, along with his A-team, pulled off an A-list event where names like Ratan Tata, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Shashi Ruia and others rubbed shoulders with top Union ministers, diplomats from five countries and of course, Jharkhand's best-known import to the world, cricketing icon M.S. Dhoni, the brand ambassador of Momentum Jharkhand under which the summit is underway.

Interim chairman of Tata Sons Ratan Tata, representing the company that introduced modern industry to India starting with Jamshedpur over a century ago, set the tone of the event when he said the time was ripe to invest in Jharkhand, while industry leaders Birla, Adani, Ruia, Naveen Jindal and Anil Agarwal gave hefty figures to emphasise their commitment to this mineral-rich but often ignored state. Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Piyush Goyal and Venkaiah Naidu promised big-ticket overhauls for the state in sectors of transport, textiles, mines and urban development.

Adani group managing director Rajesh Adani called Jharkhand strategic for their group. "We aim to set up 500 MW green energy (solar power) project worth about Rs 3,000 crore. This apart, we have got Jitpur coal block in Godda where Rs 700 crore will be pumped in. We also aim to set up an integrated coal to chemical and fertiliser project...in next few years, we intend to invest Rs 20,000 crore in Jharkhand," he said, adding that work on their thermal power plant project in Godda was likely to begin in August this year.

Chairman of Aditya Birla Group, Kumar Mangalam Birla said so far they had invested Rs 5,000 crore, creating 20,000 jobs directly and indirectly. "We are planning our first cement plant venture in Bokaro. Once we begin harness of Kathautia coal mine in Palamau, the state will receive Rs 550 crore in royalty. We are interested in all future biddings of Jharkhand mines," he added.

Naveen Jindal, chairman of Jindal Steel and Power, said they had already invested Rs 3,000 crore in the state and in next few years another pump in another Rs 20,000 crore.

Remembering his childhood in Bihar-Jharkhand, Anil Agarwal, founder-chairman of Vedanta group compared his summit visit to "ghar wapsi" and assured the chief minister to invest Rs 5,000 crore and support its start-ups and MSMEs.

Essar's Shashi Ruia announced a 2000 seater BPO in Ranchi on the lines of the one functional in Jamshedpur called Aegis. He added that they committed Rs 12,000 crore for their Tori power plant in Latehar, of which Rs 4,700 crore had been invested. but unfortunately works halted due to deallocation of coal mine by Supreme Court. We are waiting for coal linkage now," he said.

Among diplomats, Indian-origin Australian high commissioner Harinder Sidhu said they partnered with IIT(ISM) in Dhanbad two years ago to share research on mine safety, designing equipment technologies etc. "We will invest Rs 2 crore in (IIT)ISM on wide a range of activities," she said.

Referring to chief minister Raghubar Das's concerns on the slow pace of revamp of Ranchi-Jamshedpur NH-33, Union transport minister Gadkari promised National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) would chip in with funds to give impetus to the project believed to be battling a financial crisis.

"Currently, Jamshedpur-Ranchi highway, lifeline of the state, has achieved 37.80 per cent work. Within two months, it is expected to touch 50 per cent and after that NHAI will pump Rs 1,000 crore to push it further," he said, adding in another 18 months, the project was likely to fructify. On the Centre's commitment to highways, he said the Modi government inherited 2402km of highway network in 2014 but took the figure up to 5400km while work on another 600km was on. "In the next two years, we are committed to invest another 50,000 crore," he said.

Gadkari also mentioned waterways to cut transport and logistics costs, which is of special interest to Jharkhand, as a multi-modal hub has been proposed in Sahebganj along the Ganga to open up import gates from the district. "We are trying to get the foundation stone of this ambitious project laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a month's time," he said.

Dubbing Jharkhand as the tussar silk capital of India, Union minister of textiles Smriti Irani proved she had done her homework well by hailing the state's textile, apparel and footwear policy 2016.

"The subsidies, incentives and concessions under various categories show the keenness of the chief minister and his team to attract investment in this sector which is the soul of Jharkhand," she said, also lauding the proposed mega textile park in Deoghar. "The Prime Minister has announced a special package of Rs 6,000 crore for textile and apparel sectors. Jharkhand weavers can benefit from this and also from Bunkar Samvardhan Sahayata Yojana with 90 per cent reimbursement for purchase of raw materials for financially weaker weavers," she stressed.

Union minister of state for power, coal, new and renewable energy and mines, Goyal announced that within few months, 30 new mines from the state across different mineral segments would be open for auction.

Referring to Ranchi, set to become the country's first smart city completely on greenfield land, Union urban development minister Naidu promised speedy approvals and invited private investors. Seven cities of the state were part of the AMRUT Yojana for which investors could join on PPP mode, he added. "Approvals will be smooth at state and central levels," he promised.


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