JNPT SEZ gets investment offers from 24 firms for ₹60,000 crore, says Nitin Gadkari

Port connectivity: Work for more than ₹2 lakh crore, under the ‘Sagarmala’ project, has started, says Nitin Gadkari.   | Photo Credit: PTI

One company alone will invest ₹6,000 crore and create 40,000 jobs: Gadkari

Union Shipping and Ports Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday said 24 companies had offered to invest more than ₹60,000 crore in a special economic zone adjoining the country’s largest container port JNPT.

“Twenty-four companies have already offered to… set up (ventures) in JNPT SEZ.., [and] who will use it for exports,” Mr. Gadkari said, speaking at a seminar organised by Moneycontrol and the Free Press Journal here on Saturday.

This will entail an investment of ₹60,000 crore and create employment for 1.25-1.5 lakh people, he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation for the facility months after being sworn-in in May 2014 and the government was targeting to create 1.5 lakh jobs in the facility.

Without disclosing the name of the company, Mr. Gadkari on Saturday said one of the companies had said it “on an affidavit” that it alone would invest ₹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 may be one of the interested companies, which would create a large number of jobs for mobile handset manufacturing at the facility.

The government was also hopeful of getting Tesla, arguably one of the most respected companies in the world, to the SEZ, but Mr. Gadkari had recently said the battery and transport major was not interested.

₹4,000 crore-investment

JNPT, which has also awarded the ₹7,900-crore project to more than double its container handling capacity, is investing ₹4,000 crore in the SEZ which is to be spread over 277 hectares.

Mr. Gadkari on Saturday said work for more than ₹2 lakh crore has already started under the ambitious ‘Sagarmala’ project and added that port-rail connectivity would alone witness investment of ₹1 lakh crore under the project.

He said the ministry was constructing the Indore-Manmad railway line at an investment of ₹6,000 crore and was also looking to connect neighbouring Thane district’s Kasara and JNPT directly.

In order to reduce the container traffic passing through the financial capital and suburbs, it has asked for land near Vasai on the outskirts, from where the containers can be sent directly on barges to JNPT via the water route, he said.

It is also investing ₹1,000 crore to build a cruise terminal in the financial capital, Mr. Gadkari said, adding that the first of the Mumbai-Goa cruise ships will be sailing before the end of December.