Sajjan Jindal, chairman and managing director of JSW Group of companies, on Friday tweeted pictures of the special ‘puja’ ceremony of the foundation stone of the company’s first ever steel plant in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, as it became the first major group to invest in the Union Territory (UT) after the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 in 2019, that barred outsiders from buying land here.
“Proud to announce that we have laid the foundation stone for our new steel processing unit in Pulwama— the heart of Kashmir! Contributing to the growth of the beautiful state of Jammu and Kashmir,” Mr. Jindal said, in a tweet.
‘Puja’ paraphernalia could be seen in the picture posted by Mr. Jindal, whose company acquired 70 kanals of land (8.75 acres) to set up a ₹150 crore steel plant in volatile Pulwama’s Lassipora industrial area last year. Around half of the land will be used for landscaping and the project is to cater to the local demand only. It is likely to emerge as the top player in the steel sector in the Valley.
The picture of the foundation stone ceremony comes at a time when the Lieutenant Governor’s administration has approved investment proposals worth ₹66,000 crore in the last one year.
“The government is working tirelessly on promoting institutional readiness, increasing entrepreneurship and attracting investments. The New Industrial Development Scheme, with an outlay of ₹28,400 crore, has been approved by the Government of India for encouraging investment in manufacturing and service sectors in J&K, which has started helping in stepping up economic development in Jammu & Kashmir,” an official spokesman said.
The L-G administration aims “to deepen the trust with the business conglomerate, build the industrial base and strengthen the socio-economic stability”, the official said.
“The administration is also ensuring that the implementation of the new scheme is done in a manner which is friendly and hassle-free to the investors and entrepreneurs from within J&K and outside, and to find a smooth and progressive ecosystem for their business plans,” the spokesman added.
The JSW’s move has been welcomed by many people in and outside J&K. ”I wholeheartedly congratulate your whole team for laying the foundation of development, opportunities and avenues for the youth of Kashmir. This is high time the investors should come and join the development agenda. Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji. I pray for your successful venture in the Valley,” Engineer Aijaz Hussain, a BJP leader and a member of the District Development Council from south Kashmir, said.
Amitabh Kant, former chief executive officer of NITI Aayog, said, “Wonderful to see the upcoming industry in Kashmir, with others to follow suit! The JSW Group Steel Processing Plant will create jobs, boost growth, and bolster infrastructure—transforming the developmental and investment potential of the region. A big step for the people of J&K!”
Prior to August 5, 2019, non-locals would get land on lease only. However, new land laws introduced by the L-G administration now allow people from outside to buy land for industrial purposes in J&K. Special land banks for industries have been earmarked in each district in Kashmir, with south Kashmir’s Pulwama and Pampore emerging as the hotspots for investors where over 5,000 kanals (624.9999 acres) of land have been earmarked.
“The government is working tirelessly on promoting institutional readiness, increasing entrepreneurship and attracting investments”Official spokesmanJammu and Kashmir Government