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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Developers' dream Township for aging Punjabi NRIs

PTI  New Delhi, November 07, 2012
First Published: 12:07 IST(7/11/2012) | Last Updated: 12:09 IST(7/11/2012)

Canada-based NRI billionaire Bob Dhillon is considering investing up to $100 million (about Rs. 540 crore) in the Indian real estate market and is planning to approach the Haryana government for developing a township near Chandigarh.

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Dhillon, the president and CEO of realty firm Mainstreet Equity Corp, is visiting India as part of the business delegation accompanying Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"I am looking at Haryana, more specifically areas adjoining Chandigarh, for development of a township. I am in the process of discussion with the state government," he said.

Dhillon, whose family hails from Tallewal village in Barnala district of Punjab, noted that the aging population of Indian diaspora in Canada -- most of them hail from Punjab -- is looking for a second home in India. The planned project would be near the upcoming international airport.
On likely investment, he said: "Under the right circumstances, we would consider investing $25-100 million in India."

He said the investment in India might be in his personal capacity.

Asked about the Indian market, Dhillon said: "India is a developers' dream because of its demographics, migration from rural to urban areas and collapse of the joint family system."
Stating that India needs institutional capital to deal with the rising housing demand, he said the government should make changes in laws to attract foreign investment. The clarity in ownership rights, easy repatriation of capital and pragmatic landlord-tenancy act are required for the easy inflow of institutional capital, he said.

"I would be in the best market of the world, if the policies were tweaked to my appetite," Dhillon said and hoped that the Indian government, which has made changes in retail FDI, would give priority to the housing sector as well.

On his Toronto Stock Exchange-listed realty firm Mainstreet, he said the company, which acquires and rents apartments, has assets worth about $1.2 billion and has an annual revenue of about $90-100 million. The company has over 8,000 apartments in Canada.

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