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From affordable housing to hosting Haldiram, Kashmir catches up with national mainstream

A shikara on the Dal Lake in Srinagar (Photo: Nisar Malik/IANS)

In a big boost to the new industrial development policy in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Territory administration is signing as many as 39 Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the country’s real estate giants and a major fast food chain in Jammu on Monday 27 December. Efforts are also underway to finalise the terms and conditions and sign MOUs with the country’s top notch hospitals in the near future.

Raj Bhawan sources revealed to India Narrative that 39 MOUs would be signed with some leading real estate companies in presence of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, the Union Minister of Housing & Urban Development Hardeep Singh Puri and the Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Dr Jitendra Singh in Jammu on Monday. The companies have been selected from a long list of the applicants who want to set up industrial and developmental enterprises in J&K under the UT’s new Industrial Development Policy which was released early this year.

Even as most of the MOUs would be in the Housing and real estate sector and these would be signed on behalf of the UT Government by Principal Secretary Housing & Urban Development, Dheeraj Gupta, one MOU would be signed with the fast food giant Haldiram’s.

Haldiram’s is famous for its purely vegetarian foods particularly Kanpuri Laddu Panna Cotta, Bhujia Tamatar Ki Sabzi, Gulab Jamun Ki Sabzi, Kettle Chips Lasagna and  Moong Dal Halwa among several others. Sources said that the food chain was aspiring to set up the manufacturing and sale units at Jammu, Katra, Sudh Mahadeva, Mansar, Surinsar, Patni Top and other tourism and pilgrimage hubs.

Among others, Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, vice chairman National Real Estate Development Corporation (NAREDCO), Durga Shankar Mishra, Secretary, Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Development would be present on occasion of the signing of the MOUs.  Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) would be the main feature of the new initiative. Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) portal and registration & approval under RERA will also be launched on the occasion.

The Jammu Kashmir Housing Board (JKHB) will sign MoU with the Central Government Employees Welfare Housing Organisation (CGEWHO), Ministry of Housing and Urban Development for construction of residential accommodation for the Central Government employees. Sources said that the launch of the auction portal and an auction of some assets of the JKHB and the Jammu Development Authority (JDA) would also take place on the same occasion.

The H&UDD and NAREDCO will sign MoU for skilling under National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) in the Union Territory. The NAREDCO will also sign MoU for real estate development with NAREDCO Jammu and Kashmir. NAREDCO is scheduled to sign MoU with LEADs for investment in the real estate sector. It will also sign one MoU with National Association of Realtors (NAR) for training, handholding and strengthening the real estate agent network in Jammu and Kashmir.

The day-long function will also see unveiling of policies/MoUs, inaugural of skilling initiative and launch of book.

Several sessions will be addressed by top bureaucrats from Union and the UT governments. The topics include ‘Vision Jammu and Kashmir for Real Estate: Sector Overview, Opportunities and Challenges’, ‘Catalyst to Growth: Ease of Doing Investment in Jammu and Kashmir’, ‘Opportunity for Investors: Affordable Housing, Luxury Housing, Second Home, Rental Housing in J&K’ and ‘Next Destination J&K: Tourism, Films & Entertainment, Logistics, Commercial, Warehousing’.

Sources said the Central and Jammu and Kashmir Governments are expecting investments running into thousands of crores in real estate sector also following abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019, and bifurcation of the erstwhile State into two UTs of J&K and Ladakh. “The Jammu and Kashmir Real Estate Investors Summit 2021”,  as the function has been named, is the first of its kind in J&K after August 2019. 

In 2019, the Jammu and Kashmir Government had planned an Investors Summit in Jammu and Kashmir but the proposal was shelved due to outbreak of Coronavirus. Later, the J&K received a massive response to its new Industrial Development Policy released in April 2021. 

Anu Malhotra, Director Industries Jammu, told India Narrative that around 3,500 applications had been received from different entrepreneurs for setting up units in J&K under the new Industrial Development Policy. These units involve an investment of Rs 31,000 crore. The J & K Government would provide land on long lease and a host of other incentives, including substantial subsidies and full reimbursement of GST to the entrepreneurs for the first 10 years. LG Manoj Sinha is expecting proposals worth Rs 50,000 crore investment under this scheme.

On 16 December, J&K’s Administrative Council headed by LG Manoj Sinha approved establishment of two medicities—one each at Meeran Sahab Jammu and Sempora Srinagar. The country’s leading hospital chains are expected to establish their super specialty hospitals in the private sector in the two medicities. While the land is being identified at Meeran Sahab, around 400 kanal of the land owned by J&K Industries Department has been transferred for setting up a chain of hospitals at Sempora. 

Mehmood Ahmad Shah, Director Industries Kashmir, told India Narrative that in all 10 applications had been received—all from the local Kashmir-based entrepreneurs—for raising big hospitals at the Sempora medicity. According to some bureaucratic sources, Medanta and Apollo Hospital chains were keenly interested to set up their hospitals at the Meeran Sahab medicity in Jammu.

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