Amidst its plans to expand business in India significantly, Nepal's billionaire multi-national group CG Corp Global is all set to launch a mega food park in Rajasthan's Ajmer in three months.
CG Corp Global, the only business group of a South Asian nation having a presence in almost all countries of the region, will launch the food park in September, its Chairman Binod Chaudhary told IANS in New Delhi.
The soft launch for the project was done by Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal sometime back but now it will be made fully operational in September.
The food park, spread over 100 acres, involves an investment of Rs 150 crore.
The project, which will also involve a chain of cold storages and processing units, will benefit thousands of farmers and provide employment to many in Ajmer and surrounding areas.
"The food park will link farmers to the market directly," Chaudhary said, adding the project falls under the Modi government's 'Make in India' programme.
"We have plans to expand in India significantly without shifting our headquarters from Nepal," said the chairman of the group which is into fast-moving consumers goods (FMCG), electronics, education, cement, energy, hospitality, ArealtyAdevelopment, financial services, telecom, Ayurveda, biotech, and engineering and construction sectors in 80 countries across the globe.
The group, with 112 companies and 76 brands, already has a large presence in India. It has 66 hotels under the brand name Fern spread across almost every city of India, in joint venture with the Taj.
The CG group also has a substantial presence in other South Asian countries and is working on increasing that.
The group will be setting up a cement plant in Sri Lanka in two years, Chaudhary said, adding it will be the largest in the island nation.
He said the land has already been allotted for the project and the company is waiting for final approvals.
The CG Global already has 16 hotels in Sri Lanka in partnership with Taj, Jetwing and Ceylon Hotel Corporation (CHC).
It also has hotels in Maldives in partnership with the Taj.
In Bhutan too, the group operates hotels under the brand Zinc Journey.
The group also has Wai Wai brand of instant noodles in Bangladesh.
Chaudhary said except the CG, there is no company or group of any of South Asian countries with presence in almost all the SAARC nations.
"The reason for this is the very ineffective SAARC as a regional bloc," he said.
He said the regional grouping has seen no progress despite being in place for over 25 years.
The intra-regional trade in SAARC is minimal, as compared to the European Union and other such blocs, Chaudhary highlighted.
The billionaire businessman said BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) is a good alternative to SAARC and has a lot of potential.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi did a good thing by inviting leaders of BIMSTEC to his swearing-in ceremony on May 30, said Chaudhary who also attended the mega event.
He said India has to emerge as a real leader.
"What is it doing for prosperity of the region? It has to be visible on the ground," he said.
Referring to India's trade with its neighbours, Chaudhary said it is heavily in favour of India, which is not a pleasant situation.
"India needs to re-evaluate whether its policies of the past (vis-a-vis its neighbours) have paid off," he added.