`Vibrant Gujarat' signs 104 MoUs worth Rs 2.5 lakh cr

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To create 6.55 lakh jobs in the State

Mr Narendra Modi
Mr Narendra Modi

Our Bureau

Investments galore

The special

economic zones turned out to be the golden hen for the State Government.

11 MoUs

worth Rs 55,139 crore have been signed in the power sector

Reliance Industries

Ltd signed six MoUs worth Rs 67,550 crore

Ahmedabad, Jan. 12

The two-day mega-buck festival `Vibrant Gujarat: Global Investors' Summit 2007' got off to a flying start here on Friday in the presence of who's who of India's corporate sector with the first day witnessing 104 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) being signed between the Indian investors and the State Government, to the tune of Rs 2,51,967 crore.

Earlier in the day, while inaugurating the event, the Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, said the first day was likely to end with MoUs worth investments to the tune of Rs 2,10,000 crore.

Most of the speakers showered praises on Mr Modi for what they described his vision and dynamism in making Gujarat an important growth centre and investment destination in the country.

These investments, if and when materialised, are set to create 6,55,450 job opportunities in the State. Tomorrow, the last day of the biennial, third edition of the event after 2003 and 2005, more MoUs will be signed in different sectors.

SEZ - the golden hen

As expected, the special economic zones (SEZs) turned out to be the golden hen for the State Government as this sector saw signing of as many as 26 MoUs to the tune of investments of Rs 1,42,685 crore. These projects are expected to generate around 6,05,640 jobs.

Briefing reporters after the day's proceedings that witnessed seminars related to different sectors, the Principal Secretary (Industry), Mr D. Rajagopalan, informed that 11 MoUs worth Rs 55,139 crore have been signed in the power sector, expected to create 6,560 jobs.

In the oil gas and sector, 10 MoUs worth Rs 19,488 crore have been signed to create 15,200 jobs while in the chemicals and petrochemicals sector, 26 MoUs worth Rs 14,416 crore were signed, to generate nearly 18,000 jobs.

In the ports-related sector, 10 MoUs were signed promising investments of Rs 10,474 crore and generate 10,050 jobs.

Similarly, in two projects related to rail transport in Bharuch and Kutch districts, a total of Rs.400 crore would be invested. In the urban development sector, an investment of Rs.6,985 crore has been signed while other projects would attract another Rs 2,380 crore worth of investments, he added.

Reliance Industries

Among the major investors were Mr Mukesh Ambani whose Reliance Industries Ltd signed six MoUs worth Rs 67,550 crore, nearly half of which will be made by next year.

The Ruias' Essar Group signed up MoUs worth Rs 23,250 crore, a company official said.

RIL's investments will be in the areas of Jamnagar SEZ, refinery and polypropylene plant, coal and lignite's gasification, port, city gas distribution and a gas pipeline planning to link the Godavari river to Ahmedabad.

Apart from this, his group intended to firm up its initiatives in agriculture and farming.

RIL is expected to generate two lakh job opportunities through these initiatives, Mr Ambani said, adding that the Group would also establish a private university in the area of life sciences in Gujarat in the near future.

The Essar Group Chairman, Mr Shashi Ruia, said 80 per cent of his group's assets, to the tune of Rs. 26,000 crore, were already in Gujarat. Now, as an SEZ, the group's steel making capacity is being increased to nine million tonnes with exports around Rs 30,000 crore by 2008-09 at the Hazira steel plant. Outlining the future projects in Gujarat, he said the investments at the Hazira facilities alone would be around Rs 10,500 crore.

During the inaugural, the Chief Secretary, Mr Sudhir Mankad, informed that projects worth Rs 88,000 crore have so far been either implemented or are in advanced stages in terms of the MoUs worth Rs 1.06 lakh crore signed during the 2005 summit. Similarly, projects worth Rs 53,000 crore were in the same category as regards the 2003 summit when projects worth Rs 66,000 crore were signed as MoUs.

He said 47 foreign organisations, eight delegations and 100 prospective investors were participating in this year's summit being jointly organised by the Gujarat Government and FICCI.

The Singapore Foreign Minister, Dr Balaji Sadasivan, who was the chief guest, said 20 per cent more Indian companies had been registered in the island-nation in 2006.

The ICICI Bank Chief Executive Officer, Mr K.V. Kamath, narrated the progress made by India and Gujarat during the last few years and the future projections.

The FICCI President, Mr Habib Khorakiwala, maintained that India will emerge as the third largest economy in the world by overtaking France in the year 2020, Germany in 2030 and Japan in 2035.

Mr Modi, in his address, announced a huge gas find in the Deendayal-18 Block in the Krishna-Godavari Basin on January 10. Giving a new meaning to the letters of the SEZs as spirituality, entrepreneurship and zeal, he hoped that the 1,600-km-long coastline of Gujarat would emerge as the gateway to India's prosperity as most of the 33 sanctioned SEZs are situated along this coastline.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 13, 2007)
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