The government may be inviting the Americans, Chinese and Japanese to invest in India, but just one person is ready to put in Rs 1 lakh crore over the next five years.
Enthused with the new government’s spirited approach towards new investment, a prince of Qatar, Hamad Bin Nasser A A Al-Thani, member of the ruling family, is looking at investing the sum in at least 10 smart cities.
The 51-year-old Qatari prince has already tied up with a 31-year-old Delhi-based businessman, Mitesh Sharma, for taking the investment forward through projects in real estate, sea ports and airports, besides smart cities. According to a person working for Hamad, the two recently registered a company, NRS Enterprise Pvt Ltd, in India through which the investment would be routed.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘smart cities’ project has caught the attention of the prince. The investment will be made over the next five years,” said the person.
The investment announcement came after the two partners met Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on November 20 and his Andhra Pradesh counterpart, Chandrababu Naidu, on November 22.
The focus of this huge investment is on 10 smart-city projects in a first phase, besides power, solar energy, infrastructure development, health care and education. They are aiming for the first project to take off by February-March 2015.
The Union government has decided to support the development of 100 smart cities in the country. According to the high power expert committee (HPEC) on investment estimates in urban infrastructure has assessed a per capita investment cost of Rs 43,386 for a 20-year period. Their estimates cover water supply, sewerage, sanitation and transportation.
Hamad, through his Qatari outfit, Nargis Arts recently formed a joint venture — Kings Kraft Frames 24 Pvt Ltd — with Sharma for producing five Bollywood films. Sharma, with interests in granite mining and real estate, is also a partner with Hamad in Qatari construction business.
The two partners have already signed a memorandum of understanding with the Andhra Pradesh government for a smart city project. Investments worth Rs 12,000 crore and Rs 60,000 crore would be made in Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, respectively. Besides, Rs 38,000 crore would be diversified in sectors like power and natural gas, said a statement on behalf of the two partners.