Kashmir: Middle Eastern companies flock to J&K; Srinagar to house Emaar Mall

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

From shopping malls to food processing, Jammu & Kashmir is attracting the attention of foreign investors, especially from West Asian countries. A shopping mall of about 500,000 square feet in Srinagar is being planned by real estate giant Emaar Group, in which Abu Dhabi-based LuLu Group-which runs supermarkets across West Asia will be setting up a hypermarket.

Confirming the development, M A Yusuff Ali, chairman, LuLu Group said, “We have entered into a deal to set up a hypermarket in the mall, which is being built by Emaar Properties.” This comes at a time when as part of the first foreign direct investment (FDI) in the state, LuLu Group kicked off exporting apple, saffron and dry fruits from the state.

Last year, the state government had signed a deal with LuLu Group to set up a food processing and logistics hub in Srinagar. With this, the products from the state will reach 247 LuLu hypermarkets across West Asia.

“We have already established sourcing offices in Srinagar. During the current financial year, we have already exported close to Rs 70 crore worth of apples, vegetables, walnuts and saffron. For the food processing and packaging segment, we are investing around $100 million in J&K,” said Ali.

It was in January 2022 that the real estate major Emaar signed an agreement with the Jammu and Kashmir government to develop the shopping mall in Srinagar. This happened as part of a real estate summit in the state, which signed 39 MoUs with a possible investment of around Rs 19,000 crore. Out of this, 20 MoUs were in the residential sector, seven in commercial, four in hospitality and three in infratech among others.

On February 17 this year, the state saw JSW Group announcing plans to set up a 120,000 metric tonne colour-coated steel manufacturing unit. J&K also caught attention because of the large discoveries of lithium recently.

The discovery gives India the third largest reserves of lithium after Chile and Australia, sufficient enough to meet the country’s lithium ion cell manufacturing needs for the next 50 years. If the entire 5.99 million tonnes turns out to be extractable, it can support 10 TWh (terawatt-hour) of lithium ion cell manufacturing. This can be compared to the current demand of lithium ion batteries of 3 gigawatt hour (GWh), which is projected to touch 20 GWh by 2026 and 70 GWh by 2030, according to a report by Arthur D Little. The government according to reports is planning to auction lithium reserves by June with one condition that all refining will be done in the country.__Business Standard