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HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, October 22, 2013
Following discussions with Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani announced in Mumbai on Tuesday his interest in increasing broadband connectivity in the state, besides taking up a petrochemical project, expanding its facility in Hoshiarpur and considering investment in agro processing in Punjab.

During a meeting with the deputy CM, who was accompanied by Punjab industries minister Madan Mohan Mittal and industrial adviser Kamal Oswal, the Reliance group head also agreed to attend the Progressive Punjab Investment Summit being held on December 9-10 following an invitation extended by Sukhbir.

The deputy CM told Ambani that his government was on the verge of making Punjab surplus in power generation, following which the Reliance chief said his company would increase the scope of its operations in Hoshiarpur. Sukhbir also urged the Reliance group to invest in solar and biomass power, saying that the state government was facilitating investment in this sector through special incentives.

                             Sukhbir Badal and Mukesh Ambani at Mumbai.

He briefed Ambani about the incentives being given on the value-added tax (VAT) and central sales tax (CST) front, whereby companies investing in the state could retain as much as 80% of both taxes for a period of 10 years. Ambani lauded the deputy CM for his out-of-the-box thinking and described the initiative as "revolutionary".

During his discussions with Sukhbir, Ambani said his company was ready to provide broadband connectivity to all schools and hospitals in the state at a nominal cost.

Ambani also expressed his company's desire to train more than 10 lakh diploma engineers in home services, saying that his company wanted to develop real-time skills of the youth as well as create jobs in this sector.

The Reliance group chief also invited the deputy CM to visit Jamnagar to see various advances in research on the use of sunlight and biomass for creation of synthetic crude oil.