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DPC a painful story, says Blackwill

February 17, 2003 16:29 IST

The United States Ambassador to India Robert D Blackwill on Monday hoped that the Dabhol Power Company's controversial project in Maharashtra would be restarted soon and termed it 'a painful story'.

Speaking to reporters at the Mantralaya in Mumbai after meeting the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Sushilkumar Shinde, Blackwill said, "It is an irony that we have the most modern power-generation project so close to Mumbai but it is lying idle. The project must become a solution to the (power) problem and not a problem to solution."

However, he hoped that the ambitious project would be restarted and the US investors would get their money back.

Asked if there were any concrete proposal from his side to the Maharashtra government regarding the Dabhol project, Blackwill said, "The discussion is going on with appropriate people at the appropriate level."

However, he refused to disclose anything more about the issue.

Blackwill, on a three-day tour to the metropolis, stated that he was eagerly waiting for the February 28 Union Budget and assured that he would 'do everything to pump in more foreign direct investment in Maharashtra.' This is his fourth visit to Mumbai after he became the US Ambassador.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Shinde also emphasised that his government's aim was to attract more foreign direct investment and described the state 'as a natural magnet for US private investment.'

Blackwill refused to take any questions regarding India's stance on the current deadlock between America and Iraq.

"The purpose of my visit to Mumbai is to try and boost American investment in Maharashtra, to start a campaign against the trafficking of children, and to try and tackle the burgeoning AIDS problem," said Blackwill.

Trafficking of children was another issue deliberated upon in the meeting, the US ambassador said, adding that "it is a terrible crime and both India and US are facing it,” he added.

Stating that both US and India were facing the threat of AIDS, Blackwill said: "India has undertaken certain methods to counter the threat and we want to use them in USA," he said.

Blackwill also praised the heritage sites of Mumbai city and was full of praise for the Elephanta caves, an island situated two hours from Mumbai.

"The island is spectacular with its artistic sculptures," added Blackwill.

Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai