NRI Real Estate and Property Investment in India
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Punjab attracting NRI Investment
Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The NRI Sammelan held in January this year has been able to generate an agro-based project in Punjab. The project has received the nod of the Empowered Committee on Mega Projects and a letter of intent (LoI) has been issued. Notably, as much as 25 to 40 per cent of bookings in projects such as Emaar-MGF's Mohali Hills, Parsvnath's Pride Asia, Pearls City Mohali, to name a few, have come from NRIs

While the Punjab Chief Minister had also mooted the idea of setting up a separate empowered committee for expeditious clearances to NRI investment projects in the state during the Sammelan this year, no other investment proposal has come to the various government departments from the Punjabi Diaspora so far. The much-hyped proposal of US-based hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal for converting the historic Gobindgarh Fort in Amritsar into a seven-star hotel has not been able to receive government's nod due to heritage concerns. His Hampshire Hotels and Resorts had announced to invest Rs 1,500-2,000 crore in the state, including a business hotel in Ludhiana, a seven-star hotel in Mohali, besides giving Gobindgarh Fort a makeover.

But Punjab hopes the new industrial policy and major infrastructure projects it plans to roll out from this year will be able to make a difference. "Besides deciding on quantum of investment, location and other factors, NRIs have also to scout for partners or joint ventures to set up and manage the projects," says NRI Affairs Commissioner AS Chatwal. But a former NRI Affairs commissioner feels its development of their native villages or communities through donations and purchasing land that NRIs are more interested in than bothering with investing in the state. They have done some commendable philanthropic and development work in their villages in the Doaba belt, home to the largest number of NRIs from the state, he adds. As for non-entrepreneurial Punjabi NRIs, they still consider investing in property as the best bet, though a discernable difference now is that they are looking beyond their native villages and it is the upcoming private realty projects in Chandigarh, Mohali, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Amritsar that have caught their fancy.



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