Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha on Sunday, performed the 'bhumi pujan' and laid the foundation of 10 lakh square feet shopping mall at the outskirts of Srinagar, being constructed by Dubai based Emaar group.
The 'Emaar Mall' of is on 10 lakh square feet in size, in which the Emaar and Magna Waves Buildtech have launched 'Mall of Srinagar', the first international mall in Jammu and Kashmir.
The construction of the mall began with the laying of the foundation stone by Manoj Sinha at Sempora, Pampore. EMAAR Properties, a UAE-based globally-recognized integrated real estate development company, will spearhead the construction of the Mall of Srinagar, a release stated.
The mega-mall is the first significant FDI investment in the State of Jammu and Kashmir to facilitate investments in marquee projects as per the MOU signed between the governments of the UAE and India.
A ceremonial foundation stone laying also known as 'Bhoomi Poojan' was conducted at the event.
"The Mall of Srinagar and allied projects with the government of Dubai will fuel the economic growth of Jammu and Kashmir and bring the region closer to achieving the shared vision of strengthening bilateral trade and investment ties between UAE and India. By creating jobs and attracting new businesses to our union territory, we are laying the foundation for a stronger and more prosperous future for the people of Jammu and Kashmir," a government statement read.
The Mall of Srinagar is expected to open its door to residents of the city by 2026 and is expected to create nearly 13,500 jobs.
"Being the largest-ever mall built in the state, over 1000 people are expected to be hired during the course of construction. Once operational, the mall will create 13,500 new jobs in Jammu and Kashmir. The 10 lakh sq. ft. project will offer a world-class experience to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir and is likely to become a major attraction for thousands of tourists visiting Srinagar from across India. The project's world-class development will include a mall, six cinema multiplexes, five-star hotels, and multi-use commercial and residential complexes," the government statement added.
When the centre, on August 5, 2019, announced its decision to abrogate J-K's special status and bifurcate it into two Union Territories, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, promised to change Jammu and Kashmir from a terror-hit region into a vibrant industrial and business hub.
Now, this foundation stone is another example, that both leaders have fulfilled their promises as the transition of the Himalayan region from an erstwhile State into a Union Territory has brought investments worth thousands of crore into Jammu and Kashmir.
Investors from foreign countries particularly in the Middle East have shown keen interest to invest in Jammu and Kashmir and some groups like EMAAR Group, Noon.com, Al Maya Group, GL Employment, MATU Investments and others have already made a beginning, as we also saw in the case of Mall of Kashmir.
In 2022, J-K received a record investment of Rs 1547.87 crore highest ever compared to any previous financial year. The investments during the past five years stood at Rs 840.55 crore in 2017-18, Rs 590.97 crore in 2018-19, Rs 296.64 crore in 2019-20, Rs 412.74 crore in 2020 and Rs 21, 376.76 crore in 2021.
In the next five years, the government is expecting more investments in important sectors like manufacturing, service sector, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, agro-based industry, tourism (including film and medical tourism) etc.
The various policy initiatives that have been taken by the government to make J-K vibrant include Industrial Policy 2021-30, Industrial Land Allotment Policy 2021-30, Private Industrial Estate Development Policy 2021-30, Wool Processing, Handicrafts and Handloom Policy 2020.
Jammu and Kashmir started receiving investment proposals soon after the abrogation of Article 370, a temporary provision in the Constitution. Till this Article was in vogue, no outsider could buy any immovable property in J-K. But its revocation ended all the prohibitions and bars.
For 70 years, industrial and other sectors in the Himalayan region remained in the doldrums as no big company or group was interested in investing in a place where they couldn't purchase the land, and where violence was a norm.
Former political rulers and Pakistan-sponsored separatists took full advantage of Article 370 and used it as a tool to safeguard their own interests.
In the past three years, PM Modi-led dispensation has changed the very concept of development and progress in Jammu and Kashmir. The centre's decision to end the 70-year-long status quo has opened up new vistas of employment for the denizens of the Himalayan region.
The big corporate houses which are coming to J-K with huge investments are employing locals and offering them good salary packages. These units are harnessing the talent to build their base in a region which they see as a potential place to expand their business.
After 2019, people in J-K, especially Kashmir, have realized how they were hoodwinked by the leaders who claimed to be their representatives and described Article 370 as a shield.
For seven decades, no outside investment came into J-K which led to it falling behind the other states and union territories in the country.
In the past three years, the Himalayan region has received investment proposals from national and international business houses and the government has encouraged them by providing all the possible support.
To promote ease of doing business in J-K, the government has announced economic packages, incentives for investors, operation of night flights from Jammu and Srinagar etc.
For seven decades private investment of only Rs 17000 crore was made in J-K, while it has crossed Rs 40,000 crore mark during the past three years. (ANI)