Despite violence, Haryana goes ahead with investors’ summit

Chandigarh, March 5 (IANS) Putting behind the mindless violence unleashed during the Jat protests for job quotas, Haryana is going ahead with the ‘Happening Haryana Global Investors’ summit to attract investment for the state.

Well-placed sources in the BJP government told IANS that Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and others involved in the March 7-8 investment exercise,, however, had their fingers crossed as the widespread violence happened just over a fortnight before the summit dates.

“With shops, businesses and other institutions targeted by mobs and the police and administration failing to control the situation, Haryana’s image as an ideal investment destination has taken a big hit,” a senior Haryana bureaucrat told IANS here.

“Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed about the summit and its eventual outcome in terms of actual investment on the ground. The violence will definitely put off a lot of investors,” the officer said, requesting anonymity.

Despite the nine days of unrest and violence, Japan has proposed to become a partner country in the summit. This was telephonically conveyed to chief minister, Finance and Industries Minister Abhimanyu said.

He claimed that people of the state wanted to ensure the safety of the industries even during the violence.

“When the law and order situation in the state was disturbed, people protected the industries and drove away miscreants,” the minister said, trying to build confidence among future investors.

A number of Japanese and South Korean companies have invested in Haryana, especially in the Gurgaon-Manesar belt. The first big name to establish base in Haryana, Maruti-Suzuki, piloted by Japanese car maker Suzuki, was a runaway success in automobile sector.

The big names that have invested in Haryana include Honda, Canon, Yakult, Denso, Mitsubishi, Toyo, Daikin, Yokohama, Showa, Nippon, Kansai Paints, Asahi and Stanley.

Khattar has announced that 12 countries would participate in the first ‘Happening Haryana Global Investors’ Summit 2016′ being organised in Gurgaon on March 7 and 8. The summit is being organised by the Haryana government in association with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

China, Czech Republic, Japan, Malawi, Mauritius, New Zealand, South Korea, Peru, Poland, Spain, Britain and Tunisia are taking part as partner countries.

Khattar, who is hoping that the summit will be a “historic event”, is keen that more investment comes to the state.

Besides Japan and China, which he visited in January, Khattar travelled to the US and Canada last year. He did investment road shows in Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai too in the past two months.

More than 800 entrepreneurs from India and other countries are expected to participate in the summit. Representatives of 140 foreign companies and diplomats will also attend.

“We are confident that the investment target set in the summit would be achieved,” Abhimanyu said.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will inaugurate the two-day event on March 7. A number of union ministers are expected to attend.

China’s Wanda Group has decided to invest $10 billion in Haryana, the government claimed after Khattar’s Beijing visit.

But not everyone is hopeful.

“Many investors will develop cold feet after the recent violence. The Khattar government literally abdicated its responsibility. There was no administration. It was utter lawlessness,” Rajinder Saini, a businessman who suffered losses in the violence in Rohtak town, told IANS.

Trade and industry body Assocham projected the loss in the violence at around Rs 20,000-crore.

Following the violent incidents and its aftermath, the Haryana government cancelled the ‘Parvasi Haryana Divas’ that was to be held with the summit on March 9.

Rohtak town, 70 km from Delhi, suffered the brunt of the violence blamed on Jats with scores of buildings, shops, malls, hospitals, educational institutions and vehicles set on fire and extensively damaged.

Rohtak, Sonipat, Panipat and Jhajjar districts were the worst hit by the violence. Other affected districts included Bhiwani, Hisar and Kaithal.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at jaideep.s@ians.in)

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