The makers of Burj Khalifa on Sunday marked their formal entry into Jammu and Kashmir, performing the groundbreaking ceremony for the first foreign direct investment in the Union territory — a shopping mall and a multipurpose tower in the outskirts of Srinagar.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the Rs 500 crore project that envisages creating over 10,000 jobs in the valley. This is the first FDI project in Jammu and Kashmir after Article 370 was repealed by the Centre in 2019.
The CEO of EMAAR group, Amit Jain, Bollywood actors Vivek Oberoi and Neetu Chandra were among those present at the ‘Bhumi Pujan’ and foundation laying ceremony. Sinha asked the EMAAR group — the makers of Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, to look at the possibility of completing the project ahead of the three-year deadline.
“If the Parliament complex can be completed within 1.5 years, we can certainly expect this to be completed earlier,” Sinha said. Jain said his company’s investments in Jammu and Kashmir will have a ripple effect.
He said every rupee invested will bring in nine rupees of more investments. This Rs 500 crore investment should lead to Rs 5,000 crore investments. Asked if his company was looking at investing in other sectors in Jammu and Kashmir, Jain said there are other companies from the Gulf which are looking at those possibilities.
“The Dubai World is looking at setting up logistics centres. There is Emirates airlines which might be setting up centres here,” he said. Jain said this project was just beginning and can bring in investors from other countries like Saudi Arabia.
Asked if Kashmir can be the next Dubai, Jain said: “Why not? Sky is the limit and that’s what we should aim for.” He said the company will be employing locals. “These are hardworking people. The hospitality of Kashmir and known world over,” he added.
Neetu Chandra, who had acted in Akshay Kumar-starrer ‘Garam Masala’, said it was her first visit to Kashmir and she has been mesmerized by the beauty. “As a film producer, I am looking forward … I will do recce here, I am planning two films with my brother who is also a producer,” she said.
Vivek Oberoi said EMAAR is a global brand which is investing in Kashmir in a big way.
“EMAAR is a global brand from the UAE. They are making a huge investment here which is going to create more than 10,000 jobs for locals. I wish there is increase in economic activities,” he said.
Oberoi said Kashmiri youth are talented, loving, caring and famous for hospitality. “I am already investing in Kashmir in education. We have a company here called Aspire which helps train people for competitive exams. I feel there are a lot of amazing things happening here,” he said.