He is open to capital market economy and economic freedom: Principal Secretary

MADURAI: Gujarat is running high on confidence towards establishing the State as a model in industrial development and a lot of things are happening on the industrial port sector, energy, education, healthcare and urban development.

Talking to The Hindu here on Saturday, D.J. Pandian, Principal Secretary, Energy and Petrochemicals Department, Government of Gujarat, said that during the early 90s when India opened up the economy, Gujarat capitalised much on the Liberalisation Privatisation and Globalisation aspects of the new economic policy and drew a lot of investments. This was the first phase of development.

It was Narendra Modi, the present Chief Minister who initiated the second phase. Mr.Modi is open to capital market economy and economic freedom with a strong emphasis on developing infrastructure.

Gujarat has now 12,000 MW energy generating capacity and is expected to double in a couple of years. An extensive gas grid network has been put up. Liquefied Natural Gas terminals

Mr. Pandian said that Gujarat has gone for clean fuel energy project, out of 25 districts 16 districts have gas pipeline network and the State also gives adequate fuel supply to steel and petrochemical industries. Using this network piped natural gas running 24 hours has been given to 40 cities and we are working on to extend the supply to 200 cities and towns soon.

He also explained that Gujarat is the only State which has two LNG import terminals and works are under way to establish another two. Two ultra mega power plants 4000 MW each, one at Mundra which is being developed by the Tatas and the other one being developed by Adani Group. Realising the long coastline that Gujarat has the Government has invited private investment for the development of ports. Port development works are under progress at Hazira, Dahej, Pipavav and Mundra ports. Forty per cent of India's imports are being carried out using these ports and unlike ports in Kolkata and Mumbai which is congested ports in Gujarat because of its high labour efficiency is drawing up many visits from abroad.

Four Special Investment Regions (SIRs) have been established through a special ordinance for establishing Global economic hubs. An area of 30,000 to 40,000 hectares would be identified to establish mega industrial projects in chemicals and petrochemicals, engineering and glass manufacturing industries. The State would develop gas and water network for the SIRs and it would be linked to the Dedicated Freight Corridor between Delhi and Mumbai which is being established by the Government of India.

Gujarat Government is not giving any incentives but still it is able to draw huge investments because of the planned development and adequate supply of water. Power and gas to the industries, Mr.Pandian said.

While agreeing that there are grey areas like primary education and higher education which is comparatively low when compared to the southern States, he said that efforts are on the anvil to make the Gujarat Knowledge Society a phenomenal success by bridging the gap between education and industrial development.