Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi said that while changes were taking place to develop industries beyond Benglauru, there was a need to fast-track these changes in tune with the pace of technological advancements and developments across the globe.
He was inaugurating ‘Techceleration-2022’, a part of ‘Beyond Bengaluru’ initiative with focus on the Hubballi-Dharwad- Belagavi cluster in Hubballi on Monday.
“For industrial development to happen beyond Bengaluru, there is need for creating awareness that there was scope for growth beyond Bengaluru so that more investments were made in tier-2, tier-3 cities. The Centre in its policies has given importance to developing tier-2 cities,” he said.
The Union Minister also promised that the Central government would be willing to help with regard to policy changes, if any, required for development of industries and entrepreneurship in tier-2 cities.
Elaborating on the significance of development of logicistics, the Minister said that efforts were on to make the Hubballi-Ankola railway project a reality soon, keeping in mind the development of the region.
Following continuous follow-up at the Central government, an experts’ committee was now holding stakeholders’ meetings and they were hopeful of the project becoming a reality soon.
Mr. Joshi said that efforts were also on to develop the Belekeri port, which was a natural harbour so that more import-export business could be promoted from North Karnataka.
He said that after COVID-19 India was emerging to be a leading economy.
Earlier, briefing about the progress achieved so far through the ‘Beyond Benglauru’ initiative, Minister for IT, BT, Science and Technology, Higher Education, Skill Development, Entrepreneurship and Livelihood C.N. Ashwath Narayan said that under the ‘Elevate’ programme, 40% of the 400 proposals received were from the Hubballi-Dharwad-Belagavi (HDB) region.
The government had set up a cluster seed fund of ₹25 crore and already it had been proposed to set up Institutes of Excellence in ESDM and Agri-Tech in the region.
Following the initiatives through the Karnataka Digital Economy Mission(KDEM), eight companies had become functional in HDB region providing employment to 1,200 people, he said.
Under the ‘hub and spoke’ model, the HDB cluster would be developed and a 5,000 seat-capacity incubation facility, a tech park of 20,000-seater capacity, an ESDM facility under the PPP model would be developed in the region, he said.
Earlier, president of Kyndryl India Lingraju Sawkar and Country Head, India of Global Foundries Jitender Chaddah expressed happiness over the changes brought out through KDEM in HDB cluster and promised to extend necessary help by setting up centres in the region. Chairman of KDEM B.V. Naidu briefed about the developments in the past one year.
Arvind Bellad, MLA, said that there was no need to copy Benglauru as every city had its own distinct character and potential.
KDEM Industry Anchor Santosh Huralikoppi gave the progress report and the road ahead. Handloom and Textile Minister Shankar Patil Munenakoppa, MLC S.V. Sankanur, CEO of Deshpande Foundation Vivek Pawar, CEO of KDEM Sanjeev Gupta and others were present.
Former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who seemed rather upset with the way things were moving with regard to industrial development in the region, openly expressed the same at the ‘Techceleration-2022’ event in Hubballi on Monday.
Elaborating on the work done during his tenure as Industries Minister, Mr. Shettar referred to the proposal on FMCG cluster, which had been delayed after he stepped down.
He told Dr. Narayan that while he and his team was working to make things happen, things were not moving at the ground level because of the mindset of the officials.
The Minister also referred to the Infosys campus in Hubballi, which had remained a non starter inspite of repeated efforts.
“While land was sanctioned, Infosys spent around ₹300 crore to build a campus. However they did not make it functional. After some local entrepreneurs and activists launched a campaign, recently they have started. But only 250 are working there and of them 90% are working from home. After the campaign I thought at least 1,000 people will start from Hubballi campus. I would request Mr. Narayan to take it up with the authorities concerned,” he said.
Mr. Shettar was also upset with the proposal of setting up an international airport at Kittur between Dharwad and Belagavi and termed it impractical. “When we already have functional airports at Hubballi and Belagavi, one should not moot such impractical proposals just for the sake of it,” he said.
He concluded by appealing to the Minister to ensure that the intentions with which they were working should be carried forward to the ground level so that things started moving at quick pace.