Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala on Sunday said that despite criticism from some quarters his government would go ahead with setting up casinos in the state.
“We have not only decided to set up casinos, we have already passed a bill in the legislative assembly for opening such facilities,” the chief minister said during a press conference in New York in Sunday.
Chautala, who reached New York on Sunday afternoon from London on the fifth leg of his six-nation tour to scout for foreign investment for Haryana, said his government has appealed for the people’s support for projects, as the revenue generated could be used for social welfare schemes.
“People who want to oppose can speak against the setting up of casinos, but the people of Haryana will not be among them,” Chautala claimed. “After all we have got to earn more revenue, nobody is going to give it to us free.”
The chief minister said the government wanted the projects to be on a large scale, adding that the size will depend on the quantum of investment entrepreneurs wanted to make.
He did not divulge the possible locations for the projects, nor the time frame within which such projects need to be completed.
However, senior officials accompanying Chautala said proposals for hotels and resorts, for which over 20 applications, including one from Canada and one from the United Kingdom, have been received, envisages a total investment of Rs 2,500 crores [approximately US $516 million] in two projects.
“These are not going to be stand-alone (Togel Hongkong casino) projects; it has to be part of an integrated comprehensive family entertainment infrastructure for which at least two companies have purchased 500 to 600 acres of land each around Delhi,” one senior official told rediff.com.
Earlier, Chautala, who made a high pitch for investment in an Indian community reception, at a Long Island restaurant attended by nearly 150 members, said a number of entrepreneurs have evinced keen interest in setting up various projects in the state.
“Many are buying up lands and we are slowly being able to convince people that there is no better place to invest than Haryana with its good infrastructure, law and order situation, and pollution-free atmosphere,” he claimed.
Chautala, who visited South Africa, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and UK as part of his six-nation tour, said entrepreneurs in Durban had evinced keen interest in setting up projects in Haryana.
Chautala, who was accompanied by state Finance Minister Sampat Singh as well as four members of the legislative assembly and senior officials, said all areas were open for investment in the state.
“But we want the focus to be on information technology, biotechnology and the automobile sector,” he said.
The chief minister and his delegation are leaving for Dallas on Monday for meetings with prospective investors at the invitation of Chamber of Commerce in Dallas followed by a trip to San Francisco.
Chautala and his delegation will leave for Japan on November 20 on the last leg of their six-nation tour.