The J&K administration has locked projects worth Rs 23,000 crore in the union territory four months after it notified a New Industrial Policy. Rs 11,000 crore of the new investments will go to Kashmir and Rs 12,000 crore will be invested in the Jammu region.
Sources revealed that four big corporates are in various stages of being allotted land. Jindal Steel Works (JSW) 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.
Ranjan Thakur, Principal Secretary, Industry and Commerce, J&K, told The Indian Express that since the announcement of the new industrial policy, there has been considerable interest in the corporate sector to come to the region. “Projects worth Rs 23,000 crore have already been locked. They have registered on our website and Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) 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.”
Thakur said the investments are being made in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts in the Jammu region, and in Srinagar, Budgam, Pulwama and Shopian in the Kashmir Valley. He added that around 3,000 hectares from the government’s land bank of about 6,000 hectares have been earmarked for projects.
In regards to Jammu region, sources said investments are from the food processing, beverages and profile sheet industries. Moreover, a number of pharmaceutical companies are moving from Baddi in Himachal Pradesh to Jammu to take advantage of the government incentives. In Kashmir, the healthcare sector, wellness centres, tourism, apple and food processing, meat processing, BPOs, printed circuit boards and educational institutions are investing.
Thakur said the government is looking at a sustainable model where industries continue to have interest in the region even after incentives are withdrawn.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,” he said. “In Kashmir, the focus is going to remain on the service sector as moving goods out of Kashmir, is difficult at the moment.”
The Principal Secretary said 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. J&K as a region is not a huge market in itself,” he explained. Thakur added the government would soon announce a Private Industrial Policy with provisions for private industrial estates, and will take up issues of land acquisition.