Bihar expects industrial turnaround; $50 bn investments in pipeline: Industry Minister (Interview)

January 20th, 2012 - 2:31 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) Backed by sustained double-digit growth since 2004-05 and improvement in the law and order situation, Bihar, once a metaphor for industrial backwardness, expects some big ticket investments with over 600 proposals in the pipeline ranging from power, cement to food processing.

Bihar is providing lucrative incentives to attract investments and has already attracted 605 proposals that would result in fund flows to the tune of Rs.2.54 lakh crore ($50 billion), said Bihar Industry Minister Renu Kumari Kushwaha.

“So far we have received 605 proposals. Total investment in all these proposals is estimated at Rs.2.54 lakh crore. If all this materialises, it will bring a significant turnaround in Bihar’s economy,” Kushwaha told IANS in an interview.

“Of the 605 proposals, production has already started in 54 units and work is in progress on over 200 projects,” Kushwaha said, ahead of a global summit the Nitish Kumar government is hosting next month in Patna to woo overseas investment.

She said investments to the tune of Rs.7,000 crore had taken place in Bihar in the last five years.

Most of the investment proposals so far are in the power, steel and cement sectors.

Adani Power proposes to invest Rs.7,000 crore in power plants and coal mines. The US-based energy firm AES Corporation proposes to invest Rs.8,000 crore in setting up a thermal power plan in Bhagalpur district of the state.

The state has received investment proposals of Rs.90,000 crore for setting up ethanol manufacturing units and Rs.20,000 crore for raising thermal power plants.

Major investments are also proposed in food processing and the brewery industry.

Vijay Mallya-promoted United Breweries, Danish brewery Carlsberg Group and London-based NRI Lord Karan Bilimoria-run Cobra Beer are in the process of setting up brewery firms in the state.

The minister said under the new industrial promotion policy that came into force July 1, 2011, the state government had provided several incentives to attract private investments in the state.

“We understand there are problems, especially related to power and other infrastructure. We are trying to address them and at the same time providing lucrative incentives to attract investments,” Kushwaha said.

The minister said financial and other incentives were provided to industries at different levels of operation.

“In the pre-production stage, we provide incentives in land registration. No registration fee is charged. Even if somebody pays registration fee, we reimburse it once the production starts,” said Kushwaha, adding the incentives were also linked to the post-production scenario and taxation.

Bihar is one of the most industrially backward states in India. No big ticket investment had taken place in the state in the last 20 years because of its poor infrastructure and law and order problems.

The minister claimed that things were changing gradually and some big ticket investments would take place in the coming years.

Kushwaha said next month’s summit would see over 1,000 delegates from across the world. “We want people to come and see the change and progress taking place in Bihar.”

The summit called “Global Summit on Changing Bihar” would be held from Feb 17 to 19.

Prominent personalities and industry leaders from across the world, including Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, former Japanese prime minister Shinjo Abe, former Singapore prime minister Goh Chok Tong and members of Britain’s House of Nicholus Turn, Meghnad Desai and Karan Bilimoria are likely to participate in the summit.

The summit is organised in line with the investment meets in other states like “Vibrant Gujarat”, “Advantage Karnataka” in Karnataka and “Lead Bengal” in West Bengal.

Kushwaha said several memoranda of understanding and deals were likely to be signed during the summit.

(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be reached at gyanendra.k@ians.in)

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