Rahul, India Inc interact with J&K students, biz men

Rahul, India Inc interact with J&K students, biz men

J&K govt and Tata to discuss mutually beneficial areas

In keeping with his promise to Kashmiri students during his maiden trip here last year, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi led three of the country’s top business tycoons to have an interaction with the students and business community of the Valley.

On a two-day visit to Kashmir, the Gandhi scion is accompanied by Chairman of the Tata Group of Companies, Ratan Tata, Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, Kumara Manglam, HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh and Team Lease co-founder Ashok Reddy.

During his first visit to Kashmir in September, 2011, Gandhi had promised the students that he will help to attract investment in Kashmir and generate jobs.

President of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce Abdul Hameed Punjabi said the visit was a “good step forward”. “Industry investment will mean less unemployment and more jobs,” he said.

Mudasir Ahmad, a management student, said it is “a good omen” for Kashmir that the Tatas and the Birlas are ready to invest here. “The conflict of more than two decades has devastated Kashmir. It is time to move on and there can’t be a better beginning than corporate world deciding to invest in Kashmir,” he told Deccan Herald.

Earlier in the morning, Ratan Tata met Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and expressed his desire to expand his group’s activities to the state.

An official spokesperson said  that during the breakfast meeting, they explored the possibility of cooperation in information technology, hospitality, agro-products and horticulture sector.

It was decided in the meeting that a top level delegation from the state government and the Tata group will meet soon to discuss the mutually beneficial areas, he added.


Speaking at an interaction programme later in the evening, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Gandhi batted for closer coordination between the big industrial houses of the country and entrepreneurs of the state.

They said Jammu and Kashmir has the potential for area specific industrialisation and investors have greater opportunities in the state.

Gandhi also had a one-hour interaction with students at the Kashmir University’s convocation complex. Around 1,000 students from KU and various degree colleges participated.

“We had quite a nice conversation with the students and there are some bright students. They are very bright students and we will see if we can build a future together,” Rahul said.

His views were echoed by Ratan Tata. “I feel very emotional today and it is a step forward to be able to have conversation with great wealth of human capital that exists in Kashmir,” Tata said.

 Protests by students

As Gandhi and the corporate honchos interacted with students, a group of students held a protest against the visit at the other end of the campus.

The handful of students raised slogans alleging that the university was being used for political ends. The angry students shouted: “Rahul baba go back. We don’t want politicisation at university.”

However, they were chased away by the police and the university staff.

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