iconimg Wednesday, July 29, 2015

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Amritsar, October 05, 2013
The Punjab government and the Tata industrial group have initiated large-scale engagement, hoping it will result in a marriage that will produce development and business attraction. The group is interested in building top-end model townships; new sources of electricity and renewable energy; hotel chains, solid and water waste management plants, infrastructure, and rapid transport system.

Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal announced here on Saturday to form a high-level committee led by the chief secretary for detailed talks with Tata for firming up the investment proposals. The group brought one of its strongest teams to the state recently on a business mission. Chairman Cyrus Mistry led the delegation.

The group is also ready to invest in education, health infrastructure and e-governance, sectors that deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is trying to promote.

Charm offensive

Mistry indicated the group was serious about the deal when he showered liberal praise on the state government, saying it was “the warmest, most spontaneous, and businesslike” regime. He said it in the presence of the CM and his deputy here on Saturday after the opening of Trilium, Punjab’s largest shopping and entertainment mall.

Raising hopes of youth employment, the Tata chairman said his group believed in training and hiring local manpower. This was his second visit to the state and third meeting with the CM in less than six months.

Support assured

The CM assured Mistry that his government would “act fast on development projects”. “We have set in motion governance reforms for efficiency, transparency and accountability,” Badal said during the meeting.

Badal referred to the Reserve Bank of India’s rating Punjab as one of the three best investment destinations in the country. “The business climate here is because of peace and communal harmony,” he said, adding that the state had best infrastructure but needed industrialisation to boost trade and commerce.

The collaboration with Tata, he hoped, would attract more new investors to take advantage of the new liberal-tax package and the state’s becoming power surplus shortly.

For state’s health

The deputy CM solicited Tata’s support in improving the cities’ healthcare and administration system, and agreed to come up with a hotel policy.

Mistry told him about the company’s housing projects in Chandigarh, Mohali and Ludhiana, and upcoming hotel ventures in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, and Mohali.

He conjured a vision of rooftop solar-energy devices over government buildings and making electricity from municipal waste.

Cabinet ministers Bikram Singh Majithia, Anil Joshi and Madan Mohan Mittal; and chief secretary Rakesh Singh were present.

Adopt cities: Sukhbir

Putting entrepreneurs at ease to enable fast-track investment was the new strategy of the state government, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday told Tata group chairman Cyrus Mistry here.

Sukhbir said his vision was of one company managing all services in adopted cities. Mistry told him Tata was doing it in Jamshedpur, and could also manage the bus operations and other transport solutions for Ludhiana and Amritsar.