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June 7, 2000
The Rediff Business Special/Fakir Chand
Karnataka's global investors' meet a roaring success
Karnataka has done it again. Having first taken a seemingly unassailable lead on the infotech front, the state has now successfully projected itself as a highly attractive destination for major global investment.
The two-day main conference of the month-long Global Investors' Meet, or GIM, kick-started by the state government in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry, or CII, was a major hit.
In money terms, it resulted in a windfall of Rs 80 billion (about $ 1.80 billion) worth of investments for the state with the signing of about 10 memoranda of understanding, or MoUs, between government departments and private sector investors.
State Chief Minister S M Krishna remarked that the response was "more than overwhelming". "The feedback would put Karnataka back on the rails to emerge as the most-favoured destination for investments from global as well as private domestic investors," he added.
Leading the pack of committed investors is the surprise announcement by Rupert Murdoch's multi-billion-dollar News Corp to set up a state-of-the-art digital studio to outsource software products for its global media entertainment networks.
Announcing the decision on behalf of the media mogul, New Corp's India operations newly-appointed chief executive officer Lalit Ahuja declared at the valedictory session of the GIM's conference on Tuesday that the upfront investment would be about Rs 10 billion ($ 225 million), and the facility would come up in Bangalore.
"The studio will be set up in about three months, and details of the project would be furnished soon. This comes up in the wake of Murdoch's recent visit to Bangalore and his famous breakfast meeting with state Chief Minister S M Krishna then." he added.
In addition to the five MoUs that were signed on the first day of the conference on Monday bringing about Rs 40 billion worth of mega projects, a record 6 MoUs were signed on Tuesday bringing in total investments of Rs 40 billion ($ 900 million) more in diverse areas, ranging from information technology, telecom, petro-chemical products, agro-processing, and energy areas.
The major MoU signed by the Karnataka Industrial Development Commissioner V P Baligar involving about Rs 20 billion is with Martin India Petrogas Limited CEO R Venkatesh for the setting up a supply chain of liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG, filling stations across the state with the LPG convergence kits for passenger automobiles.
In the order of investments, the second MoU is with Hampi Petrochemicals Limited for the setting up of a coke and power generation plant at Raichur in the northern part of the state with an investment of Rs 5.75 billion. With a capacity of 1 million tonne, the project will generate 47mw of power.
The third MoU, signed by state IT secretary Vivek Kulkarni, is with Bharti Mobile for the laying of fibre optic cable network and involves an investment of Rs 2 billion across the state.
The fourth MoU, involving an investment of Rs 1.95 billion is for the setting up of a refined sunflower and protein extract plant at Bagalkote town in northern Karnataka by Deepkit Limited, a company set up the London-based Non-Resident India, K L Shah.
The fifth MoU for an investment of Rs 1.3 billion is by AT&S for the manufacture of printed circuit boards (PCBs), and the facility will come up at Nanjungud near Mysore.
The sixth and last MoU is signed with India Media Valley Limited for the manufacture of CD-ROMs, CDs, music portals, and audio-video products and digital studio equipment at a cost of Rs 1.1 billion.
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