Mumbai/Chandigarh April 11:
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) Chairman & MD Mr. Mukesh Ambani today promised a slew of investment initiatives for the development of Punjab across a wide spectrum of sectors, including free WiFi to government educational and health institutions, employment for youth, and training of sportspersons for the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Mr. Ambani extended these offerings to the state government during a meeting with a Punjab government delegation.
The delegation, led by Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Irrigation & Power Minister Mr. Rana Gurjit Singh, held a series of meetings on Monday afternoon with top industry leaders, including Mr. Ambani, Hinduja Group Director Mr. Shom Ashok Hinduja, and Larsen & Tourbo (L&T) Director & Executive Vice President (Power and Heavy Engg. & Defence) Mr. Shailendra N. Roy.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh could not attend these meetings, because of the relapse of his foot injury.It is mentionable here that Captain Amarinder had a foot injury during the assembly election campaign which was troubling him again and the doctor had advised him to rest his foot during the afternoon, said a government official.
The Chief Minister had, earlier in the day, held a series of important meetings with top business leaders to discuss investment issues related to the state. These included one-to-one meetings with Reliance ADAG chairman Mr. Anil Ambani, RPG Group Chairman Mr. Harsh Goenka, Mahindra & Mahindra chairman Mr. Anand Mahindra, and Hindustan Unilever Ltd CEO & MD Mr. Sanjiv Mehta.
During his meeting with the state delegation in the afternoon, the RIL chairman emphasized the need for steps to boost the earnings of farmers, besides providing jobs for youth. Acting on a request from the state government, Mr. Ambani agreed to provide free WiFi connectivity in all government schools, colleges and health institutions.
Disclosing details of the meeting, an official spokesperson said the two sides agreed on initiating bio mass energy development in the state on a big scale, apart from promotion of sports and its infrastructure. The RIL has offered to adopt some players from Punjab to train and groom them for the Tokyo Olympics.
RIL will also support the state government in its efforts to revive the farm to fork project in order to boost agricultural production in the state.
Meanwhile, Larsen & Tourbo (L&T) Director & Executive Vice President (Power and Heavy Engg. & Defence) Mr. Shailendra N. Roy has expressed his company’s desire to further strengthen their Punjab connect through massive investments in the state, particularly in infrastructure projects. The delegation promised the state government’s full support and cooperation to the company for expanding its ongoing projects, as well as future projects in Punjab.
Mr. Hinduja, during his meeting with the delegation, showed interest in providing skill development to youth and promotion of renewable energy development in the state. The Finance Minister urged the Hindujas to set up a manufacturing/assembly unit for their trucks in Punjab. The company said it was looking to diversify into manufacturing of defence vehicles and promised to explore the possibility of setting up a facility at Punjab for the same.
The Finance Minister urged the company to work on improving fuel efficiencies of their tractors and other vehicles as a step towards boosting efficiencies and incomes of the farmers.
A roundtable discussion in the evening also saw several key business leaders discuss investment possibilities in Punjab. The discussion was attended by industry and business stalwarts, including HDFC Bank Managing Director Mr. Aditya Puri, Bombay Dyeing Managing Director Mr. Ness Wadia, Janseen India (J&J) Managing Director Mr. Sanjiv Navangul, MSD Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd Managing Director Mr. Vivek K Kamath, Videocon Director Mr. Anirudh Dhoot, Mumbai Angels CEO Mr. Chandni Jafri, Kansai Nerolac Paints Managing Director Mr. H.M. Bharuka, and Maya Digital Studios co-founders Mr. Ketan Mehta & Ms. Deepa Sahi, along with Jain Irrigations’ Mr. Anil Jain and Mr. Pranav Adani of the Adani Group.
Earlier, talking to mediapersons, Mr. Badal described the Mumbai trip as extremely successful, with India’s leading industry leaders evincing great interest in investing in Punjab in view of the changed political and industrial climate in the state following the installation of the Congress government. Mr. Badal said the Captain Amarinder government was committed to reviving the state’s industries, which was as critical to Punjab’s progress as its agricultural development.
In response to a question, the Finance Minister listed Health and Education as the state government’s development priorities, along with agriculture and healthy. A new industrial policy was on the anvil to ease the procedures and regulations for industrial and business investment in the economically shattered state, he said, adding that the fiscal health of Punjab was in a poor state as a result of the previous government’s misrule, and needed strong measures, including large-scale investments and industrial development, for its revival.