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Australia India Business Council (AIBC) at a function inside NSW State Parliament honoured 3 individuals for their outstanding achievement to promote trade and bilateral relationship between India and Australia. NSW Premier Barry O’ Farrell was present on the occasion and gave away the awards to Arun Jagatramka, CEO of Gujarat NRE, cricketer Brett Lee and Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, CEO of Pearl Group of industries.

AIBC President, Dipen Rughani spoke highly of the efforts of these individuals and said, “It is hard not to recognise Arun Jagatramka. His energy is amazing. He spends half a month in India and half a month in Australia. His company has spent 400 million in Australia and is planning to invest 450 million in Australia in next 5 years. Nirmal Singh Bhangoo of Pearl Group has invested lot of money in Australia, among them Sheraton Mirage in Gold Coast and has got exclusive rights to VB and Wolf Blass in India. My observations are that Brett Lee is a true gentleman on the field and off the field. He has sang with Asha Bonsale and set up music academy ‘Mewsic’ in one of the underprivileged communities in India and today it is a momentous night for AIBC and for everyone here. Nirmal Singh Bhangoo of Pearl Group was unwell and could not travel to Sydney but sent six of his family members to Sydney to receive the award on his behalf.”

Harry Harinath, Chariman of Cricket NSW speaking on the occasion said,” What a night tonight and I thank the AIBC to inaugurate the first kind of function to recognise those people who have fostered and promoted relations between NSW and India and India and Australia. Today we are celebrating the achievements of 3 men who have given so much of their service and so much for the love of Australia and India. Brett Lee heroics on the cricket field are well known and it is the manner in which he has embraced Indian culture and Indian people, which is amazing. I had the occasion of being with him in the Champions League in India and I saw first hand how he managed in India and has managed to develop a special relationship. He has also learnt the language of Hindi. I have seen you come as young 17 years old from Wollongong to become a legend in cricket.”

Recalling his initial days of friendship with Arun Jagatramka, Harry said Arun was present throughout the tournament when NSW was playing in Champions League in India and Arun was our biggest supporter, “Cricket NSW is very thankful for the support shown by Arun. Kohinoor, may be with the queen of England but the black diamond (referring to the excellent quality of Coking Coal in his mines) is there in Wollongong with Arun. Your investments in Australia are large and I would like you to put your investments in NSW.” added Harry. Harry also invited Pearl Group of industries to set up more investments in NSW.

Indian Consul General, Amit Dasgupta commented, “I have great pleasure as the Consul General of India to have an occasion where 3 Indians are being celebrated today. It is a joyous occasion and I hope AIBC takes this forward. There are areas and opportunities that AIBC and my consulate will be happy to facilitate for investors to discover. Bret Lee is a prime example of how we create friendships that go beyond borders and boundaries.”

Premier Barry O Farrell welcomed the great initiative by NSW AIBC and said, “If we make NSW No 1 the rest of the country does well as this is the largest state. We believe to deliver best outcomes for this state we need to grow trade and investments in this state which then help provide transport and infrastructure to people across NSW. I am a very happy to be presenting awards for corporations in India. We are determined particularly in the construction sector to make our planning approval systems clearer and simpler and promote confidence to get more business people to invest in NSW.” Taking a veiled shot at the National cricket team selectors over the axing of NSW batsman Simon Katich he said, “My view is 34 is not still too old for cricket. Even though Brett Lee is an outstanding cricketer, he is the figure of envy of every Australian bloke. Took him the age of 21 to represent his state, it took me 51 years to get to become the Premier and as per cricket Board policies I am too old anyway.”

Check the event pictures

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Sheba Nandkeolyar, co-Vice President of AIBC while introducing the awardees said, “Under Arun’s guidance his company has become the largest independent producer of Met Coke in India and it is the only Indian company to own and operate a cocking coal mine in Australia and in the space of just a few years the company has acquired resources of hard cocking resource over 650 million tonnes and employs over 500 people. He has been the flag bearer of Indian business in Australia and has been in forefront of promoting Australia as a business destination for India.”  She also added, “Since its dramatic entry with the purchase of prestigious Sheraton resort in Gold Coast, Nirmal Singh has demonstrated genuine commitment to Australia with a series of prominent deals and projects which underpin its serious intent to become a major national player working from Queensland. By investing 75 million at Varcity Lakes Edge Water to develop water front residences he has shrugged off challenging conditions in Gold Coast. Its Indian portfolio includes health, food spice, liquor, infrastructure and has 260 offices and 1.6 million employees.”

Nirmal Singh Bhangoo’s daughter spoke on the occasion and read out his father’s message. “I would like to thank all of you and I am very pleased and honoured to receive this award, I am really sorry for not being there to receive the award but I have done the next best thing and sent my family across. I have fallen in love with Australia and it has become my favourite destination and am proud of this.

Aap Kaise Hain” said Brett Lee as he rose to speak after being honoured by AIBC. “It is a true honour for me and a special privilege to get this recognition, I went to India for the first time in 1994 I came back sick and I told my friends about the place and since them I have gone their 50 odd times. It is a place I feel cherished about and I feel honoured to be loved there.” He also spoke about his ‘Mewsic’ Foundation and said the instruments and teachers have all been funded through the Foundation, which has teamed up with some Indian non-government organisations and charities to set up the program.

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