Srinagar: Ahead of the much-hyped global investor’s summit to be held in Jammu and Kashmir, the industries department is earmarking around 60,000 Kanals (7,500 acres) of state land in the newly created union territory for industrial development.
As much as 10,000 kanals of land will be earmarked in Kashmir division and 50,000 kanals in the Jammu region, according to officials in the Industries Department.
Sources in the Industries and Commerce Department told NewsClick that nearly 7,000 kanals have already been found “suitable” for industrial development in the valley and they are currently in the process of identifying the rest.
Confirming the process, Director of Industries and Commerce in Srinagar, Mehmood Ahmad Shah, said the global investors summit is likely to be held in mid-April. “The inaugural function will be held in Srinagar while the closing ceremony is likely to be held in Jammu,” Shah told NewsClick.
Talking about the process of earmarking the land, the director said, “We have initiated the earmarking process but it is in its preliminary stage. There are several areas in the region which are still under snow and it will take more time before a particular land bank can be earmarked.”
So far, sources within the department said that land banks have been identified across the valley except in Shopian district. “We do not identify much of the state land there for embankment. The majority of land bank in the valley has been identified in District Anantnag, so far,” an official told NewsClick on the condition of anonymity.
In Jammu division, majority of land has been identified in Samba and Kathua, however, land banks have been identified across the region for industrial development.
“We are also keeping sectoral feasibility in view while identifying the land. Based on experience and feasibility, industries involving food processing, dairy farm and information technology could be some of the important investors,” the official said.
The administration is also kick-starting road shows across several metropolitan cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata to attract investors for the summit. “Even though they have not been finalised, the road shows are also likely to happen in major world cities as well,” the official said.
Director Shah said he has personally received scores of proposals for investing in sectors like education and health. “There are many non-Kashmiris who are interested in investing in Kashmir, especially, doctors from the US have expressed their interest in developing a tertiary care health institute in the valley which has a great potential,” he said.
Many educational institutions like Fergusson College, Vishwakarma and Amity University have also expressed their willingness to come up with their respective campuses in the region.
A week earlier, a curtain raiser event was held in New Delhi ahead of the meet attended by top government functionaries and various traders. The summit had garnered much hype after the government announced it earlier last year. The J&K government, however, had to postpone from its first scheduled date in October, as a severe clampdown led to a total breakdown of normalcy in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 on August 5.
Many in Kashmir also see the call for investments as the first major outcome of the abrogation of Article 370. Earlier, investors outside the region could only acquire land on lease due to the land protection guaranteed under Article 370 and 35 A. The lease was only approved through the elected government, but, the change in the status of the erstwhile state into a union territory has changed the procedure. Land acquisition by non-locals in the region has always been controversial, raking up apprehensions within the local residents who see it as a move towards a possible “demographic change.”
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