Give J&K a chance: Omar to India Inc

17 January 2009
The Daily Excelsior


Mumbai: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has asked India Inc to help in creating conditions for resurrection of industry and help in solving the problem of 'unemployability' in his home State. 'I am not asking you to look to invest immediately. I am looking to you to help me create the conditions that will make you to invest in Jammu and Kashmir,' Abdullah said last night addressing a gathering of the who’s who of Corporate India at an award ceremony here. He asked the industrialists to help solve the two related problems that, according to him needed to be addressed urgently-employment and unemployability. 'It is the problem of unemployability that corporate India can help me with by helping give youngsters of Jammu and Kashmir a skill-set that will make them attractive not just in the State but in the rest of the country,' the 38-year-old Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir said. 'There is a lot that Jammu and Kashmir has to give to you-both personally and professionally. Just give us a chance,' he added. 'I am extremely happy that industrialists here today not only spoke of coming to Kashmir but also about re-establishing industry there. My endeavour would be to make it easy for them,' Abdullah told reporters after the award function. Essar Group has committed to develop two IT parks-one each in Jammu and Srinagar-which will create jobs for four thousand people, Essar Steel’s Managing Director, Prashant Ruia, said. On the huge voter turnout during the recent elections in J&K, Abdullah said, 'I must admit that I was one of the sceptics who did not believe that people would come out and stamp their mark on the election. But they did and they came out and voted for the basics that a lot of us take for granted.' The youth of Kashmir had voted because they wanted a future, he said adding the youths came out for roads, for clean drinking water, for an affordable and steady supply of electricity. 'They want to be a part of what India Inc is doing for the rest of the country. They have a yearning to be part of the mainstream. They want to be part of the India dream,' J&K’s youngest Chief Minister said. 'For 20 years all we have given you is bad stories out of Jammu and Kashmir. The end of 2008 I believe is the beginning of good stories coming out of Kashmir,' Abdullah said. Mr Abdullah presented Business India's Businessman of the Year 2008 Award to P. R. S. Oberoi, Chairman of the Oberoi Group. Former Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, Who is Who of the corporate world, J&K Minister for Industries and Commerce, S. S. Slathia, Chief Minister's Political Advisor, Devender Singh Rana and Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai were also present on the occasion. The Chief Minister said that he would like to see the youth of J&K, who too aspire to be a part of corporate India's dream run, to be equipped with skill sets to meet industry's needs. He said he wanted to create the conditions that Corporate India would earn profits in J&K. 'Help me build skill sets for my people that will make you to employ them in your organisations across the country and in new facilities that I hope you will soon set up in J&K', he said and added 'I will then ensure that while peace returns, the youth are trained and employable, ready for you when you decide to come and set base.' Mr Abdullah assured the India Inc. represented at the event by CEOs, corporate stalwarts and captains of industry, that every support required to make their entry into J&K, would be made easy and as comfortable as possible and said that he was just a phone call, fax and e-mail away. Dovetailing industry with tourism, he said that J&K offers world-class golfing facilities, adding though he does not play golf, the State has a spectacular golf course in Srinagar and invited the corporate houses to come to the State. 'I don't play,' he said adding, 'but my father has built a spectacular golf course in Srinagar.'