NAGPUR: Various pacts worth ` 18,461 crore were announced on Monday at the first day of the two-day ‘Advantage Vidarbha’ conference here.
The memoranda of understanding (MoUs) were signed in presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Mr Pithivraj Chavan, Union Minister for Heavy Industries Mr Praful Patel and others.
The Chief Minister has assured all possible help to the business fraternity in the region. Mr Chavan asked investors to avail advantages of the new industrial policy and huge deposits of minerals, natural resources of water and land, and human resources in the region to develop business.
He stressed the need for developing Nagpur, which is geographically centrally located in the country, as the transportation hub, saying with the rise of petrol prices, it would be ideal for logistic purposes.
The Mihan multi-modal international passenger and cargo hub here was developed in a similar way with an idea that the international flights passing over Nagpur make a stopover here and exchange consignments en route to longer destinations thus connecting Nagpur with other international cities, Mr Chavan said.
Talking about industrial peace, overall climatic conditions and vast connectivity by rail, road and air, he said Vidarbha in general and Nagpur in particular is a strategic place for investors. Welcoming the proposal of public sector undertaking BHEL for setting up a manufacturing unit and a silicon solar cell at Sakoli in neighbouring Bhandara district, Mr Chavan said he would team up with Mr Patel to seek subsidy from National Mission on Climate Change of the Centre, which is available for unconventional energy sources like solar energy.
There were ultra mega projects worth ` 1,500 crore with an employment potential of 3,000 men already underway in the region, he said.
Vidarbha, which has rich cotton belt, will be developed as textile manufacturing zone, the Chief Minister said, adding that “we will ensure that 100 per cent cotton is used for textile here after the new textile policy of Maharashtra government.”
State Industries Minister Mr Narayan Rane and Social Justice and Nagpur Guardian Minister Mr Shivajirao Moghe, among others, were also present on the occasion.
Mr Chavan said the Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) facility of aircraft manufacturing major Boeing at Mihan was nearing completion and it was delayed due to certain problems.
A taxiway for Boeing was being constructed, he said.
Also, 130 acres of land was acquired for the special economic zone and IT majors Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Infosys have launched their projects here, creating huge employment opportunities for about 12,000 to 15,000 youths.
Besides developing second runway at Nagpur international airport, the Maharashtra government has extended night landing facilities at nearby airports at district headquarters for easy access, Mr Chavan said, adding that the industrial work culture is excellent here.
He said there were 16 engineering colleges and 68 management institutes producing about 1.40 lakh graduate professionals every year in Vidarbha region.
‘Advantage Vidarbha’ is an attempt to demonstrate industrialisation of the region, waiting to be discovered, he said.
Mr Chavan also announced that the conference will be an annual feature henceforth.
On the occasion, Union Minister Mr Parful Patel asked the Maharashtra government to give priority to power, land, water and infrastructure facilities while inviting the investors here for setting up their units.
He said state-run BHEL was keen to set up India’s only silicon solar cells unit at Sakoli in his Bhandara Lok Sabha constituency near here and would require power at affordable and comparative rates.
The Maharashtra government’s offer of rupee one subsidy in power sector will not be sufficient alone, he said.
Power sector constitutes 25 per cent of GDP and contributes 22 per cent to the state exchequer.
Mr Patel called for developing a grand exhibition ground, like Pragati Maidan in Delhi, where big industrial fairs could be organised round the year.
He proposed Butibori industrial area for developing this on an area of 500 acres and assured to hold an auto fair in the near future.
The Union Minister also advocated developing agro- processing units here and assured investors a vibrant industrial culture in the region.
State Industries Minister Mr Narayan Rane announced setting up of an international conventional centre on 50 acres of land in Butibori.
Maruti Chairman and Managing Director Mr R C Bhargava, BHEL Chairman and Managing Director Mr B Prasad Rao, Jindal Group Vice Chairman Mr Sajjan Jindal and Raymond Group’s Mr Gautam Singhania also spoke on the occasion.
Besides Maharashtra Ministers Mr Arif Nasim Khan (Textile), Mr Harshwardhan Patil (Co-operative), Members of Parliament Mr Vilas Muttemwar, Mr Vijay Darda, Mr Datta Meghe (all Congress), Mr Ajay Sancheti (BJP) along with former Minister Mr Vijay Wadattiwar were also there at the conference.
Industries Principal Secretary Mr Manukumar Shrivastava and CEO of MIDC Mr Bhushan Gagrani facilitated the signing of MoUs.