Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Karnataka one up in big-buck battle

Karnataka one up in big-buck battle
Deepa Balakrishnan

Bangalore: The Karnataka government has been receiving a lot of flak for its anti-investment attitude of late.

Therefore, on Monday, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy decided to make amends and gave 40 major investment projects the green signal in one go.

Considering that the state has been at the receiving end of severe criticism for failing to attract investment, this move takes competition between southern states to a new level.

The projects aimed at getting over Rs 62,000 crore in investment would essentially focus on building Special Economic Zones, development of the already booming IT sector, biotech, textiles, petrochemicals and manufacturing sectors.

Nearly 18 projects of the proposed 40 will be regarding the IT sector alone, with an investment of Rs 18,894 crore and nearly Rs 14,000 crore of the total investments are in and around Bangalore.

“Tata Consultancy Services, the Hindujas, MRPL, Mangalore refinery are the main companies investing Rs 40,000 crore. The total investment of Rs 62,000 crore will employ six lakh people,” Kumaraswamy announced.

However, the bonanza comes with a precondition.

“When we give permission, it will be with one condition - preferably give employment to Kannadigas,” Kumaraswamy said.

However, with 40 new projects being given approval at one go, the question is, where's the land for all this in the choked city?

However, the government has an answer to that one - go to the districts. Bidar in north Karnataka is being developed as an industrial hub. It's just two hours from Andhra Pradesh’s capital Hyderabad – revving up the already neck-to-neck competition between Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S R Reddy was in Bangalore just three months ago to woo investors away from Bangalore. So was Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

For the moment though, Kumaraswamy isn’t letting it go so easily.


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