J&K woos investors with 6,000-acre land bank

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With just 242.25 acres of land under industry in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Territory administration is wooing investors by opening up a 6,000-acre land bank for setting up multiplexes, processing units, food parks, film production centres, schools, Information Technology parks and medical complexes.

For the first time since 1947, the administration has started a major exercise to convince investors across the country to buy land and invest in the Union Territory.

Interested investors are expected to participate in the ‘J&K Global Investors Summit-2020’, to be held in the capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu in March.

“The summit will prove a determining factor in ushering Jammu and Kashmir into an industrial hub,” Chief Secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam said. “It will not only help to present business-friendly policies but also harmonise Jammu and Kashmir’s intrinsic strengths and aspirations of development and employment opportunities,” he added.

To speed up the process for investors during the road shows, scheduled to be held between February 17 and March 9 in Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmedabad, he said, “Signing of Memorandum of Understanding with interested investors will also form a part of the road shows and the main summit.”

According to the Department of Industries and Commerce, there were only 439 industrial units in Kashmir valley spread over 115.5 acres and 415 units over 126.75 acres of land in Jammu. “About 1,250 acres of land is being acquired under 18 land acquisition cases to develop industrial estates across J&K,” according to the official document.

In an online campaign, the J&K administration claimed there were 30 cinema screens in the UT and sought to make a case for investment opportunities in multiplexes. The campaign comes even as all 14 cinema halls in the Valley remain shut for more than three decades now.

“Mesmerising scenic locations, J&K is a perfect destination for film tourism, production houses, studios and film city. Invest in the paradise of the earth,” reads the campaign, identifying the famous shrines and mosques like Jamia Masjid and Hazratbal Shrine as being open for shooting.

The J&K administration has centred its campaign to woo investment around six key sectors, including healthcare, tourism, IT, food processing, education and skill development and industries. “More than 40 projects and 14 focus sectors have been identified, which are investor-friendly,” said an official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Stating that J&K has a gross enrolment ratio of 30.9% in higher education, the administration has asked investors to explore the opportunities in the education and skills sector. “J&K offers attractive land rebate for establishment of medical colleges,” the official said.

Speaking at the first roadshow in Bengaluru, Kewal Kumar Sharma, advisor to the Lt. Governor, promised to prospective investors that “in some months from now, various restrictions related to connectivity will be eased”. “Things are getting better and better,” he added.

Jammu and Kashmir Trade Promotion Organisation (JKTPO), a nodal agency, is working in tandem with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Ernst and Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). A global summit is likely to take place in March.

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