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24 projects roll out, barbs fly

- Don't defame state, CM tells rivals

Ranchi, May 18: Chief minister Raghubar Das today laid foundations for 21 projects and launched three others, all 24 being part of agreements inked during Global Investors' Summit this February, sending out the message that MoUs did make the leap from paper to project to create jobs in a "new Jharkhand".

A day after the Sarkar Girao Jharkhand Bachao rally organised by Adivasi Sengel Abhiyan leader and former MP Salkhan Murmu, where Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar took pot shots at Das without naming him and urged the governor not to endorse the Das government's land tenancy tweaks to safeguard tribal land and identity, Das also launched a spirited attack against his detractors at the groundbreaking ceremony held at Khelgaon opposite mega sports complex in Hotwar.

Appearing happy that projects promised during the summit were actually starting, Das said: "Call it a coincidence. It was a Thursday when we inaugurated the Global Investors' Summit on February16 and it is Thursday again today as we roll out the first lot of MoUs. In another couple of months, a similar rollout will happen for 30-odd projects in IT, manufacturing etc. I had said I am not signing MoUs to grab headlines but to fulfil what is promised. It's starting to happen."

Among those who were in today's audience were state ministers Saryu Roy, Neera Yadav, Chandra Prakash Choudhary, Ramchandra Chandravanshi and Raj Paliwar, MPs Mahesh Poddar, Ram Tahal Choudhary, P.N. Singh, MLAs, bureaucrats, industry representatives and people from the districts.

The February summit saw 210 MoUs promising investments worth around Rs 3.1 lakh crore.

A small start today, the 21 projects are worth Rs 700 crore in all and can generate over 21,000 jobs in diverse sectors from textile and footwear to food processing and pharma. Another three that were launched today are warehouses in Nagri (Ranchi), Khasijhari (Bokaro) and Gumla with total investment of Rs 30.5 crore and can generate160 direct jobs.

Speaking highly of the investors' summit to establish Jharkhand as a brand name, Das assured all help to investors. "There won't be any problems to investors till this mukhya sevak (chief worker) is here," he said.

"Some two-and-a-half years ago, the state was infamous for negative things. The summit established a brand name for Jharkhand. For India to become an economic superpower, I believe states like Jharkhand first have to become economically strong. We are working as Team Jharkhand with a single agenda of ending poverty, creating jobs and bringing prosperity. I appeal to all to come on board," the chief minister said.

Naming no names, he also lashed out at his political detractors while throwing broad hints about who they were, be it in Bihar or in Jharkhand.

"You must have seen yesterday's rally (where Nitish spoke) and the kind of poor people who attended it. Our aim is to end that poverty. The government isn't snatching anyone's land. Come and invest, we will give land in one month. People are giving land to Adanis on their own, you must have read in the papers. So where is the question of the government snatching it? I am okay with positive criticism, but don't try to create unwanted panic," he said.

Showing surprising candour, he added: "It doesn't matter if Raghubar Das stays or not, but Jharkhand will remain. So don't try to defame it by creating a negative image about it. Some people are active in the mission to mislead people and create unrest. Rather than focusing on solving problems, their agenda is to destabilize growth. But ours is a strong government that doesn't fear anyone."

Sudhir Dhingra, chairman and MD of Orient Craft and an investor in the garments sector, praised the chief minister's vision.

"I recall first meeting the CM and his team in Delhi last year in July. The CM said Jharkhand's biggest problem was lack of jobs. That appealed to me. Investment is important for revenue but I liked how the state is focusing on job creation. We evinced interest to set up garment factory and today we received 25 acres in Ranchi. If all goes well, within a year the factory will be fully ready. We are investing Rs 200 crores which will generate 15,000 direct jobs," he said.


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