A London-based Non-Resident Indian entrepreneur has announced his decision to invest £25 million in a sponge iron project in Chhattisgarh.
Chan Chowdhry, the industrialist who owns an engineering firm in London, made the announcement at a meeting of investors convened by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh in Raipur on Wednesday night.
Chowdhry said the project would come up in 15 months period in a 100 acres of land near Mahanadi river bank.
Singh, who is on a four-day visit here to explore the potential for the development of business between the United Kingdom and the state of Chhattisgarh, said the newly carved out state was imbued with rich iron ore and diamonds besides rare herbal plants.
"I see Chhattisgarh as the country's number one state in days to come, be it power, iron, steel or aluminium sectors. We have other potential sectors like diamond, alexandrite and tin in the state."
"This new state, created on November 1, 2000, has potentials for machinery manufacturers, especially in downstream mineral processing large mining and infrastructure machinery, as also coal washeries and clean coal technology," he said.
Besides attracting foreign investment in the mining fields, the chief minister also planned to draw foreign tourists in a big way as the state has a vast tourism potential. "We have Chitrakote Falls, which are second only to the world-famous Niagara Falls.
"Chhattisgarh Tourism is projecting Bastar's Dussehra as a major attraction to domestic and foreign tourists."
Shivraj Singh, principal secretary to the state government, said: "Chhattisgarh is truly a land of opportunities. With all major minerals including diamonds in abundance, it is the richest State in mineral resources," adding that there are mega industries in steel, aluminium and cement.
"The state is not only self-sufficient in power, but also exports to other states. It ranks high in terms of good industrial relations and labour productivity," he said.
"With 44 per cent of its area under forest cover, amounting to 5.9 million hectares, Chhattisgarh is endowed with a rich and unique biodiversity, making the state a storehouse of large number of medicinal, aromatic and dye plants.
"Apart from 88 species found in abundance, 15 species are being cultivated. With a revival of interest in natural medicines and herbal products, the state is well on its way to becoming a major player in the global market valued at $600 billion and growing at 10 per cent per annum," he said.Raman Singh leaves for Zurich on September 17. He will also visit Frankfurt.