French Consul General Jean-Raphael Peytregnet pays a visit to the Vidarbha Economic Development Council office during his visit to Nagpur.
Nagpur News: The Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED) adroitly presented Vidarbha, rich in mineral resources and forests, and impressed upon collaboration between India and France in these and other areas when the French Consul General Jean-Raphael Peytregnet paid a visit to the VED office during his visit to Nagpur. Peytregnet was accompanied by Matthieu Leffort, Trade Commissioner and Abhay Tikekar, Alternate President, Amicale.
Peytregnet said he was hopeful of collaborations especially in the smart city concept and hoped to see Nagpur as that first smart city. “A smart city caters to the needs of the values of the 21st century and necessarily entails smart infrastructure, roads, bridges, renewable and solar energy, IT, all of which
France can offer to India. French architects who have done smart cities in France, would come and explain,” said the French Consul General while speaking during the visit.
Education, he opined, was a good area of exchange but sadly there were just about 3000 students from India while there were 30,000 from China and that he would like more people from India to go to France, especially since Indians have a good command over languages. The good news is that the universities in France would now be teaching in English which would enable a greater student flow, hoped Jean-Raphael Peytregnet.
The Consul General, himself interested in wildlife, stressed the importance of tourism as the French appreciated India for beauty and even more, spiritualism which takes them away from the materialistic world. “To increase the number of tourists to France, we are trying to facilitate tourism by giving longer-duration visas for free,” said Peytregnet.
He said the French were very fond of Indian culture and that he would tell his fellowmen to extend their activities and companies to India. VED members and others in the audience requested that French companies invest in the SEZ in MIHAN. Peytregnet assured that he would talk to the Ambassador in France to look into investing in Nagpur. VED members wanted to know if France could help in the field of solar energy as India needs to enter into it.
Peytregnet said he was happy to be in Nagpur, a cute, green, peaceful city, and concluded by saying that this was just the beginning (of an association with Nagpur).
Earlier, the meet began with a welcome address by the VED President Devendra Parekh, who spoke of the Indo-French connection having started way back during the reign of Aurangzeb when he had a French personal physician. Parekh introduced Vidarbha as the eastern region of Maharashtra, rich in mineral resources and forests and felt these were areas in which the two countries could collaborate. He further spoke of sectors like defence and nuclear power which is already in the pipeline in Jaitapur, the biggest in the world, and that MIHAN could well be a place as a defence hub and Nagpur being the centre, it is safe. And since Peytregnet is a naturalist, wildlife tourism could be great attraction for the French and Vidarbha’s tourism could get a big boost with tourists from France. Moreover, cultural exchanges could be a focus of collaboration, asserted the VED President.
Abhay Tikekar also spoke of Nagpur oranges and VED’s attempt at orange processing including an orange wine. Earlier, Rahul Upganlawar, Secretary General, VED, the Master of Ceremonies, made the formal introductions and ended with the vote of thanks. Prominently present were Govind Daga, Shivkumar Rao, Rina Sinha, Vinita Mathur, Narayan Gupta, Atul Tajpuriya, CB Padgilwar, jagmohan Sethi, Pradeep maheshwar, Promod Pampatwar, Vinita Bahari, Sudhir Ghike, Milind Fadnavis and others.