Union Shipping and Ports Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday said 24 companies have offered to invest over Rs 60,000 crore in a special economic zone (SEZ) adjoining the country’s largest container port Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT). “24 companies have already offered to come (and) set up (ventures) in JNPT SEZ who will use it for exports,” Gadkari said, speaking at a seminar here. This would entail an investment of Rs 60,000 crore and create employment for 1.25-1.50 lakh people, he said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation for the facility months after being sworn-in on May 2014.
The government was targeting to create 1.50 lakh jobs in the facility. Without disclosing the name of the company, Gadkari on Saturday said one of the companies has said it “on an affidavit” that it would invest Rs 6,000 crore and create employment for 40,000 people. The comments from the minister came in the backdrop of recent media reports that said Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn might be one of the interested firms, which would create a high number of jobs for mobile handset manufacturing at the facility. The government was hopeful of getting Tesla to the SEZ, but Gadkari had recently said the battery and transport major is not interested. JNPT, which has also awarded an over Rs 7,900-crore project to more than double its container handling capacity, is investing Rs 4,000 crore in the SEZ which is supposed to be spread over 277 hectares. Gadkari on Saturday said works of over Rs 2 lakh crore have already started under the ambitious ‘Sagarmala’ project and added that port-rail connectivity would alone witness investment of Rs 1 lakh crore under the project. He said the ministry is constructing the Indore-Manmad railway line at an investment of Rs 6,000 crore and is also looking to connect neighbouring Thane district’s Kasara and JNPT directly.