Free Press Journal

Doors open for India Inc to bring investments in Kashmir: Tata


Srinagar: The titans of the Indian industry today came to Kashmir promising to tap the “enormous” potential in the region to help usher in change with Ratan Tata saying the doors have opened for bringing investments.

Tata, the Chairman of the Tata Group who was part of a top business delegation brought by Rahul Gandhi to the Valley, also hailed the AICC general secretary’s efforts to do something for the people of Kashmir.

“What Mr Gandhi has done is not open a window but open a door,” Tata told reporters here after addressing a packed interactive session with students of Kashmir University along with Rahul.

At a luncheon meeting hosted by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for the delegation, Tata said India Inc would definitely like to be part of the economic stake holder in Jammu and Kashmir. Rahul and top Kashmir businessmen were also present at the meeting.

Omar said the security situation in the state had shown considerable improvement for multinational companies to come into the state and help in its economic growth.

In his interaction with reporters, Tata said it was for the industry leaders to do something for people of Kashmir so that they become a part of the growth and development of the country.

“It is for us as people in the industry to look beyond our normal places of endeavour to do something in Kashmir, to do something with Kashmir and to do something for the people of Kashmir that will bring prosperity and change,” he added.

“The potential is enormous and I think what has happened is today that the doors have been opened,” he said.

The industrialist also said he was feeling very emotional in saying that, “it has been a real step forward to be able to have a conversation with a great wealth of human capital that exists in Kashmir”.

Rahul, who lent a business dimension to his two-day visit to Kashmir, pledged to do his bit in building a long-term relationship with the youth of the state and fulfil their aspirations.

Besides Tata, Aditya Birla group Chairman Kumar Manglam Birla, HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh and Managing Director of Bajaj Auto Rajeev Bajaj were part of the busienss delegation.

At a breakfast meeting with Omar, Tata also expressed his desire to expand his group’s activities in the state.

On Centre’s decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, Rahul gave his backing, saying it will help farmers prosper by removing middlemen from the supply chain and generate new jobs. He made these remarks while addressing the national executive of Indian Youth Congress here last night,

Tata said the interactive session with the students has displayed their intelligence as also the ability and keenness to participate in the growth and development of India.

The industrialist also said he was feeling very emotional in saying that, “it has been a real step forward to be able to have a conversation with a great wealth of human capital that exists in Kashmir”.

Gandhi on his part said, “I think we have some of the brightest children in the room behind us. We need to work together with them and with other youngsters like them in Jammu and Kashmir to show them what can be achieved (and) what the future is and that they should take part in it”.

The Congress leader said his main aim was to build trust and a long-term relationship with the youth of the state.

“They (students) are very very happy to speak with the businessmen and they are aspirational and we want to fulfil as many of their aspirations as possible,” he added.

Rahul said he had promised the students of university during a similar interaction last year to facilitate an interaction with the titans of the industry.

“I had come here last year and I had promised the students here that I would try to build a long-term relationship with them, to develop some trust”, he added.

Rahul said, “They had mentioned to me that they would like to speak to some big businessmen and discuss job placements. So I had brought some of the titans of the industry to Kashmir to have a word with them”.

He said he and the businessmen had a nice conversation with the “very very bright students and we want to try and see if we can build a future together”.

While the interactive session was underway at the Convocation Hall of the University, another group of students held a protest against the visit at the other end of the campus, sources said.

The handful of students raised slogans alleging that the University was being used for political ends, they said.

The students were chased away by police and university watch and ward staff, the sources said.