Himachal Pradesh invites US investment

By Arun Kumar

Washington, Oct 10 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has invited American entrepreneurs to set shop in his hill state that he painted as an ideal investment destination for hydro-electric power and information technology projects.

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With a single window clearance system the state had cleared 665 projects worth $4.253 billion in the last few years, he told a meeting hosted here Tuesday by the US India Business Council (USIBC) representing 250 major US companies seeking to do more business with India.

Singh, on a six-day visit to the US, said thanks to its climate and the incentives offered by the government his state was ideally suited for foreign investment in various areas, particularly for power and IT related projects.

Himachal Pradesh has a fourth of India’s hydropower potential at over 20,000 MW, but less than a quarter of this has been tapped so far, he said, recounting how the state has developed from a poor backward area to one with among the highest per capita incomes in India.

Possible areas of foreign investment include food processing, textiles, pharmaceuticals, automobiles and auto ancillaries, packaging materials, cement, precision engineering and cosmetics.

There was also tremendous scope in tourism, biotechnological ventures and infrastructure projects, he said. The state government was actively encouraging private investment in education, especially in technology. The state was willing to play an active role as facilitator in IT enabled services.

Singh also met World Bank officials here Monday and discussed funding of development projects in the state.