Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is all set to get its first foreign direct investment (FDI), as the UAE-based Emaar Group, the developer of Dubai’s signature Burj Khalifa, unveiled its big plans to build a ₹250 crore mall and an IT tower in Srinagar.
The J&K government told reporters that Emaar’s projects mark the first FDI in the Union Territory. While Emaar Properties CEO Amit Jain told reporters that the 10-lakh sq foot mall, to be called The ‘Mall of Srinagar’ will have 500 shops, and many of them will be run by UAE-based companies. The mall will come up at Sempora on the outskirts of Srinigar.
Further, Jain said that the ‘Mall of Srinagar’ is one of their “milestone projects” and they are excited over the potential of it. The Emaar group will be launching their presence in India through this initiative, he stressed.
The spokesperson of Magna Waves Buildtech, which will be involved in the construction of the mall, said that nearly 1,000 people will be hired for the job. And, once the mall gets operational, (expected to be completed by 2026) it is expected to create 13,500 new jobs in J&K.
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Bhumi puja for mall
The Bhumi puja (prayer ceremony) of the ‘Mall of Srinagar’, and an IT tower was performed by the J&K lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha.
In an official statement issued by his office, J&K Lt governor Sinha said that an IT tower at a cost of ₹150 crore will be built in Jammu. And that the land has already been given for it. The ground-breaking ceremony for this tower will be held next month, he added. According to the LG, the Emaar projects in Srinagar and Jammu will bolster employment in the Union Territory.
Further, he revealed Emaar has made a total investment of ₹500 crore has been made. In his view, the “long standing” dream of people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially Srinagar and surroundings will be fulfilled… “I think Jammu and Kashmir is moving towards industrial progress,” he added.
The drive to evict illegal occupants of government land in Jammu and Kashmir will be resumed, he said, adding that the recovered land will be used to fuel industrial revolution in the region.
“J&K has witnessed a huge sea change post August 5, 2019. The government land was kept under illegal possession by some people that was retrieved. The land retrieved will be used for setting up industries, playgrounds for youth and graveyards for the people,” he said.
Emaar’s investment in Srinagar comes a year after 36 CEOs from several Gulf countries, which included Saudi Arabia, had visited the Valley to explore investment opportunities. Emaar was part of that group which had visited India at that time.
The government had invited the CEOs, most of them from the real estate, hospitality, development, food processing and agriculture sectors, to visit Kashmir so that they can see “first hand” the situation in the Union Territory.
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Srinagar was the venue for an India-UAE investors’ meet held at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) on the banks of Dal Lake in Srinagar. On Sunday (March 19), Sinha termed the India-UAE Summit a “unique” opportunity for a “free and frank” exchange of views on investment opportunities in J&K.
Referring to the Bhoomi Puja of the 10-lakh sq foot ‘Mall of Srinagar’ by Emaar, he pointed out that the first FDI in Jammu and Kashmir has taken shape. It is a “new dawn of limitless possibilities”, he said adding that the Mall of Srinagar will have a transformative impact on UT and boost infrastructure, employment generation and ease of living.
He also invited business leaders from the UAE to invest in J&K and become “partners in J&K’s development”, and added that the government will ensure the investors receive every kind of assistance, facilitation and support from administration.
The Lt Governor assured the investors that the land will be allocated within 15 days from the submission of the proposal. Also, he pointed out that there was new confidence among foreign investors. “I hope this will increase investment in J&K which will in turn enhance employment and livelihood opportunities,” he said.
UAE-India Business Council
Sunday’s foreign investors’ meet was also attended by members of the UAE-India Business Council (UIBC), the official joint business chamber established to boost economic synergy between India and the UAE. Launched in September 2015, UIBC or the UAE–India Business Council is the official joint business chamber established by the two countries to promote economic synergy.
Faizal Edavalath Kottikollon, the chairman of the UIBC UAE chapter, who is also the chairman of KEF Holdings, said they will work on the execution plan with the J&K administration.
He said that what inspired him were the opportunities that emerge when two countries come together to transform J&K and Srinagar. In a very short span of time, they were working with a team from J&K, with the secretaries and government bodies and they were going to prepare an execution plan, he revealed.