Odisha committed to have more PPP projects: Naveen

London: Resource-rich Odisha in East India is committed to have more Public Private Partnership projects and "transparent and time-bound" single-window clearance to attract Foreign Direct Investment, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has said.

"I am committed to have more PPP projects and single- window clearance which is transparent and time-bound," Patnaik said at a reception organised in his honour by the Indo- European Business Forum here Monday.

He said he was keen to have more PPP projects in the infrastructure sector in his state. "We have a number of primary industries including that of steel and aluminum that provide employment. We want employment for young people. We are focusing on tourism, irrigation and agriculture to generate employment," he said.

Patnaik was replying to certain points made by Ramkrishan P Hinduja, Regional Chairman, Americas, of the Hinduja Group that "most of the projects in PPP, be it mining, power generation, road building are stuck because of uncertainty of approvals from various departments of the state government."

While "this is not a problem unique to Odisha, that also does not mean that it cannot be addressed. A tried and tested solution that has worked in other such situations is to create a special purpose vehicle under the State government for each of the identified projects, which will obtain all approvals and will then make an offer of sale to the best bidder.

"This simple mechanism will eliminate uncertainties which deter the entrepreneurs. This mechanism will shorten the time for investment fruition which will mean better returns to the entrepreneurs and faster implementation for the state`s stated objectives. This mechanism will obviate concerns about favourism which often holds back approvals since the SPV will be State owned prior to being auctioned."

Ramkrishan noted that many of the Hinduja group companies like Ashok Leyland, Gulf Oil, Indusind Bank are operating in Odisha.

"We have explosives factories, one established since 1971 in Rourkela, and other places like Barbil and Talcher, manufacturing projects for the coal and iron ore mining industries. We would like to see our other ten business sectors such as healthcare, power, IT, infrastructure to participate in the economic activity of your rich state," he said, adding Hinduja group would be happy to increase investments in Odisha.

G P Hinduja, Co-Chairman of the Hinduja Group, said: "if the state set up a special purpose vehicle for each of the identified projects which will obtain all approvals, there will be no shortage of investors. In fact, investors from Europe would like to invest in India and the Hinduja Group is committed to invest billions of pounds."

S P Hinduja, Chairman of the Hinduja Group, said: "the whole world is going through financial crisis but India is the only country which has not made any default (in repayment). "We have given suggestions to all states for setting up single window clearance. Over half a dozen states including Gujarat, Bihar and Odisha have implemented the suggestion," he said.

Vijay Goel, Founder of the Indo-European Business Forum (IEBF), said the Forum is dedicated to build bridges of understanding between European Countries and India.

Keith Vaz, MP, Chairman of the Britain`s Home Affairs Committee, said: "On behalf of Parliamentarians, we admire your efforts to cut red tape, promote growth and provide jobs to the youth."

India`s Deputy High Commissioner to the UK Rajesh Prasad noted that states like Orissa and Bihar were making rapid progress and Patnaik`s visit would help attract investments.