A galaxy of industrialists led by Reliance group's Mukesh Ambani promised Gujarat investments totalling up to a staggering Rs 2,100 bn (Rs 2.1 lakh crore) on Friday as the state bouncing back from a history of devastating earthquake and riots saw a rosy picture ahead.
Chief Minister Narendra Modi said investment commitments of Rs 2.1 lakh crore rupees had been drummed up on the first day of the two-day "Vibrant Gujarat" global investors conference which attracted 100 key business people and 47 organisations.
Of this, Ambani announced Rs 67,000 crore in the next few years in the state in which his father started out from a remote village as a humble schoolteacher's son before founding the Reliance conglomerate that already houses a global scale refinery in Jamnagar.
Ambani's announcement coincided with the global premiere of Bollywood director Mani Ratnam's movie, Guru in Canada - said to have been inspired by the rags-to-riches story and a gutsy Gujarati entrepreneurial style personified by Mukesh's father, the late Dhirubhai Ambani.
"Investors in Gujarat can feel the vibrancy and see for themselves that desires and directions are matching in the state," Modi told the conference, showing a mood in contrast to the tough one that Gujarat faced after its earthquake in 2001 and religious riots a year later.
ICICI Bank chairman KV Kamath said Gujarat offered "less of red tape and more of red carpet," while Kumar Mangalam Birla described Modi as the "CEO of a state with a high growth trajectory".
Ambani said his arm of the Reliance group would put in money into projects such as a port city, gas pipelines and a special economic zone near Jamnagar, in addition to a "world class university". The Rs 30,000-crore refinery is expected to be ready by the middle of 2008.
Ratan Tata said his Tata group would set up a 4,000 megawatt power plant in Gujarat soon, while Pankaj Patel of pharmaceutical firm Zydus Cadilla said his company would sign agreements for Rs 5,300 crore to set up SEZs in Ahmedabad and Bharuch.
Sudhir Mehta of the Torrent Group, IA Modi of Cadila Pharma, Gautam Adani of Adani Exports and Ravi Sanghi of Sanghi Cements were among others who unveiled investment plans for Gujarat.