Back from Ahmedabad & Gandhinagar~ Congress not seen as a strong alternative to Narendra Modi and BJP who should win the Elections with continuing strong support of the masses ~despite a recent judgement that convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment two of his and his Party allies and others for their active and criminal role in the 2002 Gujarat Riots
Modi’s admirers are impressed with his fast track, aggressive and proactive initiatives for industrialisation of Gujarat and creation of better infrastructure and quick decision making to support this ~ His detractors however denounce his role in the Gujarat Riots of 2002 and his brazen attempt to manipulate court and investigation proceedings ~ USA continues to reject a visa for Modi to enter their country ~ but US’s Google allows him to Google Talk !
Gujarat is not exactly cheap ~ Property Prices have escalated and the Pricing at Restaurants compares with Mumbai ~ However am told that Salary Packages are yet on the Lower side and there is little scope for top white collared Professionals in the State
An oft repeated reality is how the farmers around Sanand , who earned a few thousand a month,suddenly saw their land values zooming into lakhs and crores ! when Tata Motors announced in 2008 that they were relocating the Nano Mother Plant from West Bengal to Sanand ~ General Motors and Tatas (2010) have commenced their auto operations while Ford will begin their unit in 2014 and Maruti too has just announced that their seventh production unit will be in Gujarat ~ Auto Ancilliaries like Sona Steering have announced Gujarat units to service Maruti ~ These Poor Farmers have seen their Golden Time come after a cycle of probably 100 years ! says my hosts ~ These Farmers have moved Straight from a Bullock Cart to a Four Wheeler and Apartments in Ahmedabad City and a retired life with plenty of money yet left over !
Eating Out too is not exactly cheap ~ my hosts took me for dinner to ‘Bawarchi’ a popular vegetarian chain of restaurants ~ was impressed by the decor and the huge variety of different cuisines available ~ Indian,Mexican,Italian,Chinese and even Lebanese but less impressed by the prices ! comparable with some good mid range restaurants in Mumbai ~ A Full Meal for Four,that is inclusive of Drinks,Soup,Starters,Main Course and Dessert would easily reach Rs 2000, that’s Rs 500 a person ~ we moved across to Havmor Ice Cream Parlour at the corner ~ was impressed with Havmor Chain of Ice Cream Parlors ~ Single scoops began at a low Rs 30 ,Ice Cream Sticks were also available as were some awesome Sundaes and Milkshakes ~ It had outdoor seating as well as inside seating ~ The heavy rains had cleansed the City and the Wind was lovely so we sat out to enjoy the weather ~ by 10 pm the parlour was packed on a weekday !
Am told on weekends there is waiting at even some of the not so popular restaurants in Ahmedabad ~ seems the whole City eats out at weekends !
The Capital,Gandhinagar is the Green City ~ It’s 35 kms and an hours drive ~ State Legislature and Bureaucracy functions from his well laid out city ~ Most travel to and fro from Ahmedabad everyday for work ~ There were simultaneous Farmer Fairs and other huge Congregations,one was for State Recruitment of just 200 but had over 10000 turning up ! the past few days that had occupied the grounds and all hotels were overbooked
Worth Looking at Investing in Real Estate in Gujarat in certain pockets
Punjab , Haryana and UP State CMs are desperately trying to keep Industrial Plants in their States from not moving across to beckoning States like Gujarat ~ Many are considering such a switch after sustained labour and power disruptions are severely affecting operations at their Plants in these states
So take a Call for Investing in Gujarat ~ Real Estate prices will move northwards from Current Levels if Modi retains power in the State Elections (Indications are clear that he will) and surge more so if BJP or it’s led Coalition comes back to Power at the Centre in either early mid term general elections predicted in 2013 or in 2014 when scheduled and Modi moves from CM to PM ~Of course Risks exist ~for one Modi has not seen the last of legal issues that are investigating his role in the 2002 riots that accuses him of actually facilitated them ~ for another he has his bitter and influential rivals from within BJP itself who don’t want him to be portrayed as a PM Candidate
But For Now Business is Business and Modi has managed to attract some Big Business Houses to set up huge scale plants in his State ~ they have preferred to make their decisions on Economic & Business Realities rather than on Emotional or Ethical arguments and are ignoring or down playing the Modi risk ~ surprisingly even the House of Tatas
So Go for Gujarat !? There Yet co-exists Huge Poverty with the increasing Prosperity ~ only select pockets of people and places are benefiting is the common argument ~ but there is a Transformation visible in Industry for those who are willing to take the Risk and I see a Lot of Foreigners taking this Risk ~ it’s close to Mumbai too and State Government fast tracks industrial and investment proposals ~ and leading Bollywood Icon , Amitabh Bachhan is it’s Tourism Brand Ambassador
Need to visit other States too ~ Karnataka was seen as a superb investment destination with IT sector attracting huge talent ~ alas Infrastructure bottlenecks have worsened ~ Maharashtra and Bihar are seen as the biggest Competitors to Gujarat to attract Investment
A warning ~ With ‘Coalgate’ scam getting bigger and uglier everyday and with the Indonesian Coal Imports becoming unviable at US $ 100/ton ,Investment in India’s Power Sector may be deferred if Proposed Power generation Plants are not able to finalise long term Coal Supply feed ~ NTPC has just announced it is putting on hold huge Investments Plans for this reason
Lack of Continuous and Affordable Power will hit Industry all over India ~ Gujarat is better placed to tackle this challenge ~ this has powered Modi to attract big business to Gujarat with long tax holidays and assured power and other infrastructure
Investment is all about Opportunities and taking Risks and Gujarat is fast emerging as a Popular New or Relocation Industrial Destination ~ at least for the Auto Industry