Bangalore: A two-day meet to attract investments to Karnataka kicked off on Thursday, with global investors committing to spend Rs2.3 trillion in sectors such as steel, coal, cement, information technology and aerospace.
Large companies such as ArcelorMittal, Posco, Infosys Technologies Ltd and Wipro Ltd were among 29 investors who signed 41 memoranda of understanding, or MoUs, on the first day of the Global Investors Meet (GIM).
The state government has said it hopes to attract a total of Rs3 trillion to invest, particularly in the mineral-rich areas of northern Karnataka.
Also See Investment Plans (Graphic)
“We want to replace red tape with a red carpet for investors in Karnataka,” chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa said. The state is seeking private investment for more than 100 infrastructure projects, including 18 industrial estates and five industrial corridors, he said.
Steel companies signed most of the MoUs on Thursday, led by the world’s two largest manufacturers. ArcelorMittal committed to invest Rs30,000 crore, while Korean firm Posco signed an MoU for a Rs32,000 crore steel plant in Bagalkot.
Hazira Steel Ltd agreed to invest Rs29,000 crore. Bhushan Steel Ltd said it will set up a Rs27,928 crore integrated steel plant in Bellary. Shashi Ruia, chairman of Essar Group, also said the company plans to invest in a power and steel plant.
“There was a lot of confusion about Posco in the last few days and we thought they are not coming forward for an investment,” said Murugesh Nirani, minister of small and medium industries.
Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) said it is investing about Rs5,000 crore to develop a gas pipeline from Maharashtra to Bangalore and collaborating with the state government to engage, implement, operate and manage a compressed natural gas (CNG) project.
“We expect to award contracts for the pipeline project by October-November,” said B.C. Tripathi, chairman and managing director, GAIL.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), which is based in Bangalore, will also invest Rs2,095 crore in a new plant to make aero-engines and helicopters for the global market.
Though information technology is not the government’s thrust area at the meet, Infosys and Wipro promised to set up software development centres in Bangalore with a total investment of over Rs2,800 crore.
Wipro chairman Azim Premji said the company employs 40,000 people in the state and plans to add another 15,000-20,000 in the next three years. Premji said the state should go after large multinational corporations to attract manufacturing industries.
Two senior government officials at the event, who did not want to be identified, said they were not expecting all the MoUs to convert into projects. But even a 40-50% conversion rate would benefit the state, they said.
“Investors attending the event are serious and ready to invest. They just want assurance on issues such as land,” said one official.
“We want to double the investments and employment in the state through the GIM,” Yeddyurappa said.
He is hoping to replicate the success of Vibrant Gujarat, a similar meet through which that state attracted Rs7.5 trillion in investment last year.