Mega investment event to herald new era of development in JK
19 June 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Knowledge, business opportunity, latest technology and advanced management techniques packed 4-day mega investment event will take off tomorrow at SKICC here. The event will go a long way in heralding a new era of sustainable development in Jammu and Kashmir by harnessing natural and human resources of the State. The event, appropriately styled as ''Kashmir Vision 2020'', will help in unfolding well devised strategies and adoption of matching technologies after brainstorming sessions to attract expertise and investment for exploiting entire potential of the priority sectors to activate economy and tackle unemployment problem in the State on long term perspective. The main focus of this international exhibition and business summit, first of its kind being organized in the State, will be key and promising sectors like power and energy, aromatic and medicinal plants, biotechnology, sericulture, floriculture, horticulture, agriculture and food processing, handlooms and handicrafts, sports and recreation, health and healthcare besides water resources. Other critical sectors to get spotlight during the summit will be IT, communications, industrial development, infrastructure, science and technology, tourism, entertainment and heritage, wasteland development and environment. Experts drawn from across the country and several captains of corporate world and multinational companies will attend the sectoral seminars and workshops to share their experiences to give a kick start to the economy of the State. Around 150 companies from outside the State besides a number of agencies of Jammu and Kashmir Government are taking part in the exhibition to showcase the progress achieved in different spheres. Run for peace, regatta, golf tournament and a scintillating cultural programme, based on the sufi traditions of Kashmir, will be other highlights of the event besides glittering opening ceremony and spectacular valedictory functions, being held at the picturesque and spacious SKICC in the backdrop of lush green Zabarwan hills overlooking blue waters of world famous Dal lake. A vision document, interalia, outlining the status of various development sectors and their vision for the next two decades, will also be brought out after the event. The State government has set up a high level organizing committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary, Mr. I. S. Malhi to chalk out and oversee the arrangements for holding the event in a befitting manner that has finalized the minutest details for all the activities spreading over four days. The State has a vast potential of generating hydro electricity with three main rivers Indus, Jehlum and Chenab basins alone having 20,000 MW capacity. If tapped fully, Jammu and Kashmir will be energy surplus state, able to meet electricity needs of the neighbouring states even. Horticulture too has the potential to contribute largely for the State''s economy. Experts are of the considered view that the annual income of Rs. 1500 crore from this sector at present could go up by six times by adopting established high yielding technologies. The foreign exchange earnings from walnut exports could also touch a new high of Rs. 1000 crore, as compared to Rs. 100 crore presently, with latest techniques of walnut propagation. Handicrafts from Kashmir are in great demand both in domestic and international markets. Handicrafts valuing Rs. 900 crore are being sold by this State every year and with a pro-active and focussed approach, a four-fold increase could be achieved by 2020. Jammu and Kashmir is also bestowed with rare species of aromatic and medicinal plants. This newly emerging sector has vast scope in the State for providing required raw material for manufacturing plant based drugs and high grade perfumes and cosmetics having ever increasing demand world ever. According to the researchers, the State has as many as 572 plant species of medicinal importance alone. The State also has enormous investment opportunities for improving the health of global eco-system and creating employment opportunities by investing in wasteland development programme. It has around ten lakh hectares of wasteland. Much needed poplars, willows, shisham, eucalyptus, khair, neem besides other medicinal and aromatic plants have extensive scope for growth on this land. The State government has already formulated an ambitious project for the purpose. Tourism, the main stay of the economy of the State, also has large scope for investment in creation and upgradation of facilities for the tourists. These could be in the form of setting up of and operating gondolas and cable cars, multinational hotel chain units, recreational facilities like bowling alleys, indoor ice skating rings, amusement parks, health clubs, etc. Information technology and industry besides other priority sectors also have tremendous scope for intensive investment and ensured returns as the Jammu and Kashmir Government has formulated several incentive linked schemes for their development to the optimum level. It is hoped that the investment event will achieve these objectives in not too distant a future.