Goa corporates chant Modi mantra

Panaji, April 13 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the industrial might of the state stole the show Saturday at a corporate brainstorming session here to throw up suggestions for Goa’s proposed investment policy.

Nearly every speaker at the ‘Industrial growth through new Investment Policy-2013’ extolled the virtues of Modi and how he attracted and cleared the road for industrial investment in his state.

“This was the first time that the allotment of plots by the IDC (Industrial Development Corporation) was carried out in a fair and transparent manner. It was based on the Gujarat model,” said Anil Kher, former chairman of the Goa unit of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), one of the early champions of Modi at the meeting.

Allotment of plots by the IDC has been wrought with controversy over decades in Goa, with the government-run corporation being accused of opaque functioning and industrial scale corruption.

According to Kher, an educationist, the transparency advocated by the Modi model did the trick this year, something even the president of the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Manguirish Pai Raikar acknowledged.

“This transparency in plot allotment is what we learnt from Gujarat government. This was perhaps the first time that the allottee was allowed to choose a plot, instead of being allotted one. The latter method kept doors open for partisanship,” Raikar said at the seminar, where some of the top Goan industrialists and corporate honchos were present.

The objective of the meeting was to draw up a charter of ideas and suggestions for the Goa government, which is in the process of formulating an investment policy, before making a push for investments into the state.

Arun Naik, managing director of the Goa-based Merit Parmaceuticals and former head of the Goa Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (GPMA), said that while there was a huge chunk of people who were critical of Brand Modi, it was imperative to see how he had actually managed to attract investment worth billions to the western state.

He recounted an instance of a Goan businessman, who had set up an industrial unit in Gujarat, who was actually received at the airport by the Gujarat chief minister himself.

“He makes people feel wanted. That is why he has attracted so much investment there,” Naik said.

However, former Congressman and now an independent legislator Vijai Sardessai, said that the story of Gujarat’s success lies in the Godhra riots.

“We do not want a replication of Modi’s model here because his success story began with Godhra. We do not want that kind of development here,” Sardessai said, who alleged that Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was only keen on following Gujarat’s mode of development.

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