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Andhra Pradesh: Of IT parks and gas reserves

By Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad
January 08, 2006 19:58 IST
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Showcasing the immense opportunities for various sectors in Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy on Sunday exhorted non-resident Indians and overseas Indians to make the state their favoured destination in the country.

"The state offers variety of opportunities in IT, IT-enabled services, biotechnology, cement, aluminium, natural gas-based industries, petrochemicals, leather, textiles and apparels, food and agro-processing, automobiles, Ethanol and biofuels," Dr Reddy told the delegates on the second day of the 4th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2006 convention in Hyderabad.

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He was addressing the interactive session along with chief ministers of six other states—Bihar, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala and Maharashtra.

"We are an investor-friendly state. We provide clearances at single point through Industrial Single Window Clearance Act. We have a separate organization -AP INVEST - which is the first contact point for NRIs and foreign investors. I invite you to come to AP and become a partner in its progress," he said.

Asserting that the state has been very proactive and outgoing in the promotion of IT industry, he pointed out that the state government had taken up development of infrastructure for promotion of IT and IT-enabled services industry in tier-two locations such as Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Tirupati and Warangal.

Software exports from the state registered a 64 per cent growth in the last fiscal year 2004-05 as against the national growth rate of 34 per cent, he noted.

The Krishna-Godavari basin in the state has large reserves of methane rich natural gas, which can be used for production of fertilizers, power generation, ferrous and non-ferrous metals and methane-based chemicals. Natural gas can also be used for production of steel and sponge iron through direct reduction process, he explained.

"We are proposing to build a statewide gas grid. This will facilitate supply of domestic gas at 50 per cent the price of LPG. Many small industrial units can use the natural gas from the grid as fuel," Dr Reddy added.

Giving an overview of the state's strengths, the chief minister said the state had a well-diversified manufacturing base producing a wide range of industrial products, such as fertilizers, pesticides, steel, cement, paper, bulk drugs and pharmaceuticals, textiles, sugar, heavy engineering goods, chemicals, power-generating equipment, foundries, defence electronics and ships.

"We have large reserves of coal. AP is the second largest storehouse of minerals, which include limestone, bauxite, granite, barites and beach sands. We have the second largest power generating capacity in the country. The state has many well-developed industrial parks, both general purpose and product-specific. These include Biotechnology Park, Pharma City, Apparel Park, Leather Park, Hardware Park and other IT parks," he said.

Among other things, the state is developing the coastal corridor between Visakhapatnam and Kakinada seaports by promoting special economic zones. A new port at Gangavaram is coming up in the private sector. The special economic zone at Kakinada is being promoted by ONGC and ILFS. A SEZ at Visakhapatnam is also being developed in the private sector.

Listing out other important infrastructure projects, Dr Reddy said the international airport at Hyderabad would be operational in 2008. Many initiatives had already been taken up for upgradation of infrastructure in Hyderabad. Several satellite townships have also been planned alongside the outer ring road. A knowledge corridor is being developed at Hyderabad over a 20,000-acre site for providing basic infrastructure for promotion of IT, ITES and biotechnology.

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Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad