Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s ongoing visit to the Valley has created a buzz of a different kind — one with a sense of hope.
As promised, Gandhi is bringing along the biggest delegation of industrialists the Valley has seen in years, primarily to interact with students.
The names include Tata group chairman Ratan Tata, Aditya Birla group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh, Bajaj Auto Ltd MD Rajiv Bajaj and Wipro chairman Azim Premji.
On October 5, the industry leaders would interact with students at the Kashmir university. Later, they would meet members of the local chambers of commerce. “The aim is basically to seek to dispel corporate concerns about investing in the state,” an official said, requesting anonymity.
During his first visit to the Valley in September 2011, Gandhi had promised students that he would help allay the fears of big business houses, so they would invest in Kashmir and generate jobs. The visit, thus, has generated a lot of hope. From the shikarawalas on the Dal lake to the Kashmir Inc, expectations are running high.
“This has been a great year for tourism. If we get industry here too, Kashmir will again become the paradise it was,” said Mohd Amin, a boatman.
The sentiment is shared by Abdul Hameed Punjabi, president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce. “It is a good step forward. Industry investment will mean less unemployment, good jobs.”
“It was great to learn that the Tatas and the Birlas are coming here. We want the establishment of industry in the Valley,” said Saba Mehraj, student at the Islamic University.