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UP pulls out stops to make 'Investors Meet' a grand spectacle -- but will the moolah follow? (News Analysis)

IANS  |  Lucknow 

The eleven-month-old government in is pulling out all stops to make the UP Investors Meet on February 21-22 a grand success and a spectacle to remember -- with promises to bring in investments of Rs 1 lakh crore (about $15 billion).

The in the state capital is on overdrive -- over 1,000 rooms have been booked in plush five- and four-star properties, four different menus of seven-course meals have been finalised, over 2,500 policemen have been requisitioned for the VVIP gathering and a fleet of dozens of cars has been booked.

That's not all. Gallons of have been sanctioned to spruce up the road sides, roads are being relaid, the entire route to be taken by the guests has been lit up with LED lights. Murals of prominent city monuments are being painted on the walls of flyovers, new greenery is being planted and more than a dozen bureaucrats are burning the to make the event a mega success.

With Ram Nath Kovind, and flying into the city for the two-day jamboree, the bureaucracy and the are trying to finalise the minutest of details and to ensure that the state is showcased in the best of ways to attract maximum investment.

A Who's Who of the business world, including and Gautam Adani, and top executives from majors like Cadila, Mahindra and Mahindra, Torrent and Essel, have confirmed their attendance at the event, which is aimed at hard-selling the state which for years has had promises made but negligible investments.

A war room has been created at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Bhavan where dozens of bureaucrats, assisted by top company executives, are working "almost 24x7" to ensure that the loose ends are tied before the mega event. Alok Pandey, a on deputation to Uttar Pradesh, who is also the for the investors meet, informed IANS that "almost every day, all officials involved leave the war room only around midnight". Other top bureaucrats involved are being led by (IIDC) and and many more.

Sources told IANS that MoUs for more than Rs 1 lakh crore investment have been signed and would be exchanged on the inaugural day in the presence of the

The has shown its willingness to set up a Mega Logistics Hub in the (National Capital Region). It has also offered to set up a private university in the and the mandarins in the are scurrying for land for these projects. Some 1,000 acres have been offered in Bulandshahr, neighboring the NCR, and to show its seriousness to investors, the has also sent a proposal to the to expand the up to Bulandshahr, an said.

The IIDC Pandey told IANS that the "is determined like never before to get investments and to ensure that the investors get the best possible facilities in return". It is for the first time in the state that sector-wise policies are being made under the Investment and Employment Promotion Policy, officials said. With the state and the Centre ruled by the BJP, the "seriousness and convertibility of promises looks tempting", averred a senior bureaucrat.

"There have been similar events by predecessor governments on a smaller scale, but with very little returns. This is possibly the last chance for the state to salvage its image as a promising destination for investment and to sell all that it has," Kiron Chopra, a prominent city industrialist, pointed out, adding it should not be just to invite people with no deliverables.

A private PR company has been hired to handle the promotions and social media, and its staff is stationed at the war room to ensure that every event -- like the five road shows in various cities of the country -- are telecast live on and all pictures and news related to the event are posted on Instagram, Twitter, and

The opposition is, however, unimpressed. of the main opposition said "public money is being wasted" by the BJP government to "hide its failures in the 11 months of its rule in the state and four years at the Centre".

He further accused the of trying to hoodwink the people with such grand events even as the state suffers from and order, soaring crime and distress among the farmers.

Stuti Kaul, an old Lucknowite, however, is less cynical and more optimistic. She is happy that the city is being spruced up like never in the past and pats the BJP government for "at least trying".

Whether the results of the mega event will show up or not is up to the future. It's wait and watch till then as the state, for now, soaks itself in the spirit of the investors meet.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 14 2018. 12:56 IST