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Lulu Group heads to Odisha as Indian state woos investors in Dubai

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With trade growing between the UAE and India, the government from the western state of Odisha has parked base in Dubai with the hope of securing Foreign Direct Investment in various sectors.

Leading a delegation of industrialists and bureaucrats from the state is the chef de mission himself, the state’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who has been at the helm for 23 years and is the longest serving state honcho in India.
And the deals have already started materialising with the Lulu Group signing an MoUto invest in hypermarkets and a product sourcing centre worth 1,500 crores or $190 million.

Even before taking the stage to present the vision to a 150-plus audience of possible investors at the Oberoi Hotel, Mr Patnaik and the Odisha government officials had one to one business meetings, which delayed the start of the overall session. Although the delay was not much, the presenters apologised and adjusted their presentation to slot in the agenda and practice what they preached on the high level of professional standards displayed in Odisha.

Close on the heels of the CEPA agreement between the UAE and India governments, the situation is conducive for investors to come forward, said Sunjay Sudhir, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE.

Riding on the last two years of a high level of investments approved by Government of Odisha, amounting to over US$50 billion since 2021, the state highlighted progress made in sectors such as Mineral resources, Metals, Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Textiles and Apparel, Food processing, Logistics and Clean Energy.

In a pre-recorded pitch, Mr Patnaik underlined Odisha’s advantage of being rich in mineral resources; the human resource advantage of investing and focusing on skilled labour; Odisha’s use of enabling technology in delivering efficient and effective investment facilitation and its progressive policy and governance.

“Odisha holds the lion’s share of India’s mineral reserves with 96 percent of the country’s chromite reserves, 92 percent nickel, 53 percent bauxite, 45 percent manganese, 35 percent iron-ore, and 23 percent coal reserves of India. This has made Odisha the largest producer of Steel, Stainless Steel, Ferro Alloys, Alumina, and Aluminium in India. Odisha also has 11 percent of India’s water resources. The state has a 480-km long coastline making it a natural choice for setting up ports, and for international trade,” Mr Patnaik said.

Odisha-Dubai-meet“We have made good investments in setting up technical and professional institutes at all skill levels – ITIs, Polytechnics, and engineering and management colleges. Eleven of India’s top 100 Industrial training institutes are in Odisha. With the assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Institute of Technical Education Services (ITEES), Singapore, the Government of Odisha has recently established the World Skill Centre in Bhubaneswar to prepare the Odia workforce for modern and new age Industry.”

Odisha is home to over 1200 start-ups, many of which are in the technology space, he added.

According to Mr Hemanta Sarma, principal secretary, Mr Patnaik “himself makes calls to at least 10 investors or businessmen every day”, such is the passion as the state has moved on from an agrarian economy to an industrial one over the past two decades.

Among the industrialists who spoke was Parth Jindal, the head of JSW Steel. After highlighting the business aspects for his company, Mr Jindal reminded all that it was not just business but the fact that the state has become the pride of India in the world of sport as well.

“As someone who are associated with Delhi Capitals in the IPL and the Bengaluru Football Club, I have been witness to how much encouragement Mr Patnaik has given to sport. A first medal in 41 years at the Olympic stage (in hockey) is a matter of pride for all and again the reason for it has been Odisha government’s support.”

Satish Pai, managing director of Hindalco, said it succinctly in his supporting address: “If you want things to be done on time, in budget, and smoothly, come to Odisha.”

The team Odisha also conducted one-on-one B2G meetings with major companies of the region such as LuLu Group, NBTC Group, Sharaf Group, Twenty Fourteen Holding and Tablez Group, ERAM Group, Sobha Group, Arab and India Spices LLC, Tabreed, etc. The State Government invited them to explore Odisha in their future expansions and apprised them of the huge Indian and sub-continent market. The government also assured all the companies of unmatched facilitation and support.

The Chief Minister extended the invitation to businesses in the MENA region to attend the 3rd Make In Odisha Investor Meet (Nov 30 – Dec 4, 2022) in the state capital of Bhubaneshwar and witness the opportunities the state offers.

Journalist for 25 years with leading publications in India and UAE such as The National, Mumbai Mirror, DNA, Indian Express and former Sports Editor of eIndia.com. Now managing editor of Headline.ae, part of MEMc (https://www.memc.co)

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Inaugural edition of Lanka T10 to kick off in December 2024

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The inaugural edition of the Lanka T10 League will be held from December 12 to December 22, 2024.

The tournament, which was initially planned to be held in June 2023, was shifted to December, as SLC deemed the ‘December window’ as the most appropriate to conduct the league, as the timing will complement Sri Lanka’s Domestic and International Cricketing Calendar.

Lanka T10 League, Sri Lanka’s newest addition to its annual cricket calendar will feature some of the finest international stars along with Sri Lanka’s top international stars.

The action-packed competition will also provide opportunities for the brightest young talents in the country to mix, mingle, and play along with international stars.

” I have full confidence that this tournament will be a resounding success, contributing to Sri Lanka Cricket’s ability to stay current with the evolving trends in the game.,” said Shammi Silva, President, Sri Lanka Cricket.

Adding more thoughts on the Lanka T10 December tournament, Mr Shammi Silva added, “We foresee that this event will not solely captivate cricket enthusiasts, but also serve as a catalyst for popularizing the tournament broadly.”

Mr Anil Mohan, Founder and CEO, IPG Group shared, “This is a great stepping stone for us as we get to organise another exciting chapter in Sri Lankan Cricket. Our league unites the top international stars and local talent on an exciting platform for cricket enthusiasts worldwide. Together, we aim to make history and elevate the game with every thrilling match.”


The tournament will feature six men’s teams covering regional cricket picenters, with each team consisting of a squad of 16 players, along with six foreign players.

“We’re thrilled to bring T10 cricket to Sri Lanka, and we’re grateful to SLC for their support. This league holds added significance as it is formally endorsed by esteemed members like SLC, highlighting the credibility and excitement surrounding this new era in Sri Lankan cricket.” Shaji ul Mulk, Chairman of TTen Global Sports, representing the Event Rights Partner.

The matches will be played in some of Sri Lanka’s top international cricket venues and under lights.

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UAE fuel prices announced for March 2024

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The Fuel Prices Monitoring Committee has given the green light for an increase in gasoline and diesel prices for March 2024. The approved hike ranges between 15 and 16 fils per liter for gasoline and 17 fils for diesel, compared to February 2024 prices.

Fuel distribution companies have promptly announced the new prices, effective from Friday, March 1, 2024. The updated pricing includes a 5% value-added tax.

Specifically, the price per liter of super gasoline “98” is set to rise by 15 fils, reaching 3.03 dirhams in March, up from 2.88 dirhams in February. Special gasoline “95” will see an increase of 16 fils, from 2.76 dirhams to 2.92 dirhams, while E-Plus 91 gasoline will climb by 16 fils, reaching 2.85 dirhams from 2.69 dirhams. Additionally, the price of diesel will experience a 17 fils per liter hike, escalating from 2.99 dirhams in February to 3.16 dirhams in March.

This decision follows three consecutive monthly reductions in gasoline and diesel prices approved by the committee for January 2024. The reduction ranged between 13 and 14 fils for gasoline and 19 fils for diesel per liter compared to December 2023 prices.

Notably, the Ministry of Energy’s approved fuel price standards are subject to monthly adjustments based on the global average oil price, incorporating distribution companies’ operating costs.

New fuel prices are:

-Super 98 petrol will cost Dh3.03 a litre, compared to Dh2.88 in February.

-Special 95 petrol will cost Dh2.92 per litre, compared to Dh2.76 last month.

-E-Plus 91 petrol will cost Dh2.85 a litre, compared to Dh2.69 a litre in February.

-Diesel will be charged at Dh3.16 a litre compared to Dh2.99 last month.

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Glory International University honours global talents with Honorary Doctorates

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Glory International University (GUI), originally based in the United States of America, proudly recognized eminent personalities from diverse fields worldwide with esteemed Honorary Doctorates at a grand ceremony held at Dusit Thani, Dubai.

The event was graced by the esteemed presence of H.E.Vacaba Diaby, Ambassador of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire to the UAE, as the Chief Guest.

The distinguished jury panel, comprising Prof.Pale Sansan Hermann, GUI President to Africa, Dr.Naser Sulaiman, the University’s National Director of UAE, and Dr.Anwar Al-Yasiri, Managing Director DST TV & Cinema,Dr.Abdulla Ali Salem Al Mubarak, Dr.Mohanad Al Awadiya bestowed the coveted Honorary Doctorates upon 23 deserving awardees hailing from nations including the UAE, India, Pakistan, Ivory Coast, Nepal, Canada, Egypt, Turkey, among others. The honorees represent a spectrum of disciplines encompassing Business Law, Management,Literature, Arts, Musical Arts,Social Work,Business Administration,Agriculture,Digital Technology,and Telecommunications.

H.E.Vacaba Diaby, in his address, emphasized the significance of acknowledging and celebrating diverse talents and faculties across the globe.

Prof.Pale Sansan Hermann shared insights into GUI’s journey of evolution since 2015, highlighting the university’s burgeoning global stature.Additionally, he outlined the institution’s forthcoming plans to establish operations in the UAE as its third base after the USA and Burkina Faso.

Dr.Naser Sulaiman, the UAE director of the University commenced the ceremony with a warm welcome speech, setting the tone for an evening of recognition and celebration. He concluded the event with a heartfelt vote of thanks, expressing gratitude to all participants for their contributions towards making the occasion a resounding success.The event was orchestrated by Srikanth Chittarvu and compered by Criza.

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