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After Emaar and LuLu Group, Dubai’s DP World will be the next big UAE company to invest in India’s Jammu and Kashmir, the region’s Lt-Governor Manoj Sinha told Khaleej Times.
Sinha, who is currently visiting the UAE to promote investments in J&K, said DP World will build a inland port in the newly created Union Territory.
“They have already earmarked a 250-acre site. We have met with DP World officials and they will soon visit the site and finalise the project,” Sinha said in an interview on Thursday.
The government of Dubai had recently inked an agreement with India to ramp up infrastructure investment in Jammu and Kashmir, and as per the deal, Dubai will deliver more than a billion dollars' worth of projects in Kashmir, including industrial parks, a medical college, a specialty hospital, logistic centres, IT towers and multi-purpose towers.
Recently, Emaar, Dubai’s state-owned real estate giant, announced it is building a 500,000-sqft shopping mall in Srinagar.
UAE-based retail major LuLu group on Thursday said it will invest Rs200 billion in Jammu and Kashmir to set up a food processing and logistic hub. The LuLu group signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Jammu and Kashmir Government in this regard, the company said in a statement.
Group Director and partner Kamal Vachani said Al Maya has signed an MoU with J&K, in the presence of Sinha and Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman Albanna, UAE Ambassador to India for import of fruits.
Vachani said: “Al Maya will catalyse trade ties between the UAE-India as we were the first retailers in the country to import saffron from J&K. This is just the beginning and we are confident that more opportunities will emerge as other key sectors are also offering lucrative investment opportunities.”
Sinha said he expects many more projects to come to Kashmir in the future and credited the strong India-UAE relationships to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“India and the UAE share historical ties. But we have not seen this level of cooperation between the two countries,” said Sinha.
“UAE is a launching pad for Jammu and Kashmir and its products to enter other Arab countries and also the rest of the world. With the coming up of an inland port by DP world, our freight problems will be solved and Kashmir’s products will reach the world markets. Our farmers will benefit with the production unit. We are going to have a sea change in Kashmir.”
Asked when the mall and the port will materialise, Sinha said: “There is no delay from our side. It is in our interest that projects kickstart at the earliest and we are facilitating it.”
He said the government is issuing permissions through a single-window system within 30 days.
“The land acquisition has been made easier through a landmark judgement. Our electricity is cheaper than any other state. We are also offering incentives on return of investments for businesses," he said.
As investments in the strife-torn region largely hinges on the security situation, Sinha insisted that “militancy is taking its last breath in Kashmir."
“We hope it will be dead soon. The government is dealing with it,” he said.
Plans are also underway to improve flight connectivity with Jammu and Kashmir. “We are looking at adding more direct flights from the UAE so that international tourists can enjoy the ‘heaven on earth,” he said.
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