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Bihar CM eyes Orissa port

Patna / Bhubaneswar, May 28: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has decided to request his Orissa counterpart Naveen Patnaik for some space to set up a port in his state on the eastern coast of India.

Naveen is among the chief minister of five eastern states scheduled to converge in Patna to participate in the planning commission’s two-day consultation meeting with them beginning on May 30.

“I will request Naveen Patnaik to give us space to set up the port at the eastern coast, as Bihar is a landlocked state devoid of port facility,” the chief minister said while flagging off a special bus to procure the signature of the people from the hinterlands in support of his demand for special category status to Bihar.

Nitish pointed out that the pace of the growth could be stepped up through private investments. “The port is an important facility for the transportation of goods. The investors will find it more conducive to invest in the state once it is equipped with the port. The entrepreneurs are already willing to invest in the state,” he said.

Seven new ports are being developed on the north coast of Orissa. These ports are Bichitrapur, Kirtania in Subernar-ekha mouth, Bahabalpur, Inchudi, Chandipur, Chudamani and Dhamara port.

Orissa is already caught in a dispute with neighbouring Bengal over the latter’s bid to expand the area of Calcutta Port Trust. Orissa has protested that this would jeopardise the future of the upcoming ports in the state.

State government officials said Bihar and Jharkhand government were interested to use the port coming up near the Subranarekha river mouth. “Both Bihar and Jharkhand are landlocked states. We are aware that they need a sea route to export their products. We have not received any official communication from the two states so far. Our government will definitely consider their proposals,” said a senior official of the state government.

The Bihar chief minister said his government had to set up electric power plants and build other big infrastructures to invite investment.

“These projects cannot be accomplished without the Centre’s cooperation. The Centre must come forward to help Bihar build the necessary infrastructures,” the chief minister said.

Reiterating his demand for the special category status, Nitish said: “Special category status is a must to Bihar. Once the state gets it, I will not ask for anything more.”

He said the special category status would lead to tax holidays and several other benefits that would attract investors to the state.

“The Centre should do away with so many centrally sponsored schemes in the states. The states are more aware of the areas and sectors that need more emphasis. The states should be given an upper hand in formulating their schemes based on their individual needs and the Centre should step in to facilitate the states in their endeavour,” Nitish added.

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