Yusuff Ali MA, Chairman of LuLu Group, on Monday announced his company's intent to invest Rs 1,000 crore in Uttar Pradesh's state capital Lucknow, where he plans to build a convention centre, shopping mall and a five star hotel.
With a net worth of $ 3.4 billion, the Gulf-based retailer was ranked 24th on Forbes' list of India's richest 100, in 2015. Ali also hit the headlines for the $170 million purchase of the iconic Scotland Yard building in London, in July last year.
Addressing the crowds at the maiden UP Pravasi Diwas, Ali said, "As a businessman I travel to many countries. But whether I go to Europe, Asia or Far East, or in the Gulf countries, I find NRIs from Uttar Pradesh and the state of Kerala. When I went to Kenya, my friends in the business said "Humara tan Africa mein hai, Humara dhan London mein hai, lekin humara man Hindustan mein hai"."
Ali's announcement, which drew loud cheers from the crowds, and an appreciative clap from chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, also drew on his own connection with UP. Ali said, "I have a very close association with Uttar Pradesh. Nearly 2,000 persons from UP are working in our food processing companies. I was offered a doctorate by different universities of the world, but the only one I accepted was from Aligarh Muslim University in UP. After receiving the doctorate there I mentioned the need for sports and for students to have sports complex to promote health. I donated US$ 2 million for both boys and girls sports complex.
Announcing on Monday that the investment in UP will create an employment for 3000 people, Ali added, "I don't believe in declarations, we believe in work. If everything is ready, we promise to begin our construction."
The chief minister said the Pravasi Diwas was a positive start to the state government's efforts to reach out to its non-residents and for the state machinery to facilitate their connection with roots. "I welcome Ali's promise to invest in Uttar Pradesh. The government will make every effort to ensure that land and any other assistance is provided to him so that he can begin work." Akhilesh also said he was hopeful that the more such proposals for investment are announced over the next day of deliberations - the second and last day of business at the UP Pravasi Diwas.