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100 CEOs to visit Kashmir to explore potential

June 22, 2007 11:17 IST

A delegation of about 100 chief executive officers from several national and multi-national companies will be visiting Kashmir to explore the business possibilities in the region as well as some leisure time.

The delegation, to be led by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India President Venugopal N Dhoot, who also heads the Videocon group, will stay in Kashmir for at least three days and will also participate in a two-day golf tournament being held in Srinagar in the first or second week of September.

An officer in the J&K Industries and Commerce department said a proposal for this had bee received from Assocham.

He said playing golf in Kashmir would show the rest of the world that the state was fast returning to normalcy and expected to attract more a larger number of tourists this year. He said about 600,000 tourists had visited the state last year and the government had set a target of about 1 million for this year.

The local members from Kashmir and Jammu Chambers besides several business groups from the state and local companies would get an opportunity to interact with the visiting delegation. The aim was to explore and discuss the opportunities to expand more business and trade activities in Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

With improving general law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir, industrial activities have started picking up pace and this was reflected particularly in the export of various Kashmiri goods such as handicrafts, sports goods, walnuts, wooden furniture, unfinished leather and silk products.

The annual turnover of these exports goods was put at around Rs 900 crore (Rs 9 billion) during 2005 and it may go up to Rs 1,500 crore (Rs 15 billion) this year.

Kashmir's fresh and dry fruit also has potential for business activity. It may lead to expansion in the industrial activities connected to the fruit industry as Kashmiri fresh and dry fruits have are well recognised in the international market.

Saffron also has vast scope for export, as India is the only country after Spain and Iran to produce saffron and that too, of a very high quality. Its annual production is put at around 7-10 tonnes annually in the fields of Pampore in Kashmir.

Several pharmaceutical companies also intend to invest in J&K in view of the massive incentives offered to the investors from outside by the state government.

Several proposals to set up drug-manufacturing units are pending with the J&K Department of Industries. About half a dozen have already started functioning in Kathua and Samba industrial areas of Jammu region.
Gopal Sharma in New Delhi
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