ALSO READOdisha clears fresh investment proposals worth Rs 1.31 lakh crore State govt approves investments worth Rs 1,770 cr in Odisha After 'Make in Odisha', investments slow to take off Odisha steps up efforts to implement Rs 2 lakh cr investments Odisha govt withdraws tax sops to IOC's Paradip refinery
"Last year, we had signed [a] memorandum of understandings (MoUs) worth Rs 3.6 lakh crore with 124 companies during Make in Odisha Conclave in Bhubaneswar, Odisha Investors' Meet in Bengaluru, and 'Make in India' Week in Mumbai. Out of them, we have received 74 firm commitments (eBiz applications received) amounting to Rs 2,02,522.8 crore," Odisha Principal Secretary, Industries Department, Sanjeev Chopra told PTI in Bhubaneswar.
Chopra said the amount committed are from various sectors like fertiliser, refinery, petrochemical, chemical and plastics, food processing, healthcare, infrastructure, information technology (IT) and electronics system design & manufacturing, manufacturing.
Besides, metals and minerals, power and renewable energy, textile and apparel and tourism, are other sectors which have made firm commitments.
According to Chopra, these projects would help generate employment for 1,04,573 people.
Asked about the impact on Odisha as investment destination following an exit of Korean steel major Posco, Chopra said, the business "is mainly guided by [a] potential in the state".
"There has not been any major downturn and companies are finding the potential in Odisha making sense for them," he added.
Further, Chopra said the state is planning an aluminium park near Nalco smelter in Angul, which will supply molten metal.
"We are expecting a lot of downstream units will come up in this park. It is likely to come up by April 2018," he added.
He also said the state is hopeful of being included in the first phase of the Coastal Economic Zone, which will help the state to become the major industrial hub in the east.
"The government is planning to set up 12 Coastal Economic Zones (CEZ) in the country with an investment of Rs 5,000 crore in phases and we are the leading contender for the first phase," Chopra said.
"Two-three CEZs are expected to be developed in the first phase. The state and the Centre will make 50:50 investment in the project," he added.
As logistics is an issue, Odisha government is developing inland waterways in Mahanadi that will connect Talcher coalfields with Paradip and Dhamra ports.
"Work has already begun on this project and it will take four years to become operational," Chopra said.
He also noted that connectivity to the state is an issue and the state government is taking it up with the Centre.
"We have put up a strong case with the Centre for increasing connectivity with other countries, especially with the Middle East (West Asia), which has a lot of potential in terms of investment and tourism," Chopra said, adding that "in a couple of months we are hopeful of getting some positive response on this".
Meanwhile, to cater to the young talents, the state government is also working on building an ecosystem to make Odisha an attractive place to work.
"We are working on improving the local ecosystem that will make Odisha an attractive place to work for the young crowd. We have three malls in the pipeline. The land has been allotted and by June 2018, the first one by Kolkata-based Forum Group will begin developing it," Chopra said.