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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

J&K industrial policy bears fruit, investments worth Rs 23,000 cr final

Sources in the J&K administration said Rs 11,000 crore of the new investments will go to Kashmir, and Rs 12,000 crore will be invested in the Jammu region.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi |
Updated: August 7, 2021 6:56:30 am
The policy was flagged off by J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. (Express File Photo)

Four months after the Jammu and Kashmir administration notified a New Industrial Policy allowing investments from outside, projects worth Rs 23,000 crore have been “locked” in the Union Territory, and four big corporates are in various stages of being allotted land.

Sources in the J&K administration said Rs 11,000 crore of the new investments will go to Kashmir, and Rs 12,000 crore will be invested in the Jammu region.

Among the major corporate investors in the UT is Jindal Steel Works (JSW), which has been allotted land to set up a profile sheet making unit in Lassipura Industrial Estate in Pulwama in South Kashmir, the sources said.

The other three corporates are from the telecom, cyberoptics, and hosiery sectors, they said. Investment commitments have come from Japan and Dubai as well, the sources added.

“Since the announcement of the new industrial policy (which incentivises investment in J&K), there has been considerable interest in the corporate sector to come to the region. Projects worth Rs 23,000 crore have already been locked,” Ranjan Thakur, Principal Secretary, Industry and Commerce, Jammu and Kashmir, told The Indian Express.

Thakur underlined that “these are not MoUs”, and that “the investors have already paid up money for land”. “They have registered on our website and DPRs (Detailed Project Reports) have already been uploaded. We are expecting to touch Rs 30,000-35,000 crore (of investments) by the end of the calendar year, and Rs 50,000 crore by the end of this financial year,” he said.

The investments, Thakur said, are being made in Jammu, Kathua, and Samba districts in the Jammu region, and in Srinagar, Budgam, Pulwama, and Shopian in the Kashmir Valley. Around 3,000 hectares from the government’s land bank of about 6,000 hectares have been earmarked for the projects. Sources said that as more investments come in, the government will also make land acquisitions.

The investments in the Jammu region are from the food processing, beverages, and profile sheet industries, sources said. Also, some pharmaceutical companies are moving from Baddi in Himachal Pradesh to Jammu to avail of government incentives, they said.

In Kashmir, the investments are coming in sectors such as healthcare, wellness centres, tourism, apple and food processing, meat processing, BPOs, printed circuit boards, and educational institutions.

“We are looking at a sustainable model where industries continue to have interest in the region even after incentives are withdrawn. So we are trying to build on our strengths and tap industries accordingly. In that sense, because of its connectivity, closeness to Punjab and other factors, Jammu is being developed as a production hub,” Thakur said.

“In Kashmir”, he said, “the focus is going to remain on the service sector as moving goods out of Kashmir is difficult at the moment.”

“So we have to choose carefully. There is no point opening a cement factory which will have no interest in the region after incentives are removed. It will also destroy the sensitive ecology of the region. Jammu and Kashmir as a region is not a huge market in itself,” Thakur said.

He added that the government would soon announce a Private Industrial Policy with provisions for private industrial estates, and will take up issues of land acquisition.

“We have brought in massive reforms in a fairly short time. There was no land bank earlier, the regulatory atmosphere was stifling, and there was no ease of doing business. We are easing up all of that. By the month-end we will have genuine single-window clearance in J&K. No one will have to go to any office or get entangled in paperwork. Power will not be a problem. And the railway line (between Katra and Banihal) will be completed in the next two years,” Thakur said.

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