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Late nod to proposals stalls trade growth

Patna, Feb. 22: The delay in holding the meeting of the State Investment Promotion Board (SIPB) has led to accumulation of over 100 investment proposals for its approval.

Following a gap of almost five months, the board’s meeting is scheduled for February 23, where 112 proposals are expected to be taken up. The last meeting was held in September 2011.

After assuming power in November, 2005, the Nitish-led NDA government had set up the board to promote private investment in the state. The board has, so far, approved 603 project proposals, which entail an investment of Rs 2.48 lakh crore with a capacity to generate 1.85 lakh jobs.

Kumar Mangalam Birla, the chairman of Aditya Birla Group, appealed from the platform of the just-concluded Global Summit on Changing Bihar-2012 to cut the delay in getting project approval as the state had vast “potential to grow”. Other entrepreneurs, especially from Bihar, at the summit too echoed similar sentiments and called for speedy approval of projects.

Their apprehension has got credence from the fact that 112 proposals have been kept waiting for approval from the investment promotion board since the past five months. Though it is clear that all the investments might not have poured in just one or two months but many of them have been waiting for approval for many more months.

Bihar Industries Association (BIA) president KPS Keshri, who is also the member of SIPB, told The Telegraph that though there is no fixed time-frame for holding the board’s meetings, they should take place at regular intervals.

“We will request the board to fix a time-frame for holding the meeting at a month’s interval so that proposals do not get stuck. We will also request that the board should not only give in-principle approval to the project, it should give final approval,” Keshri said.

This (delay in holding meeting) keeps the entrepreneurs in the doldrums as to whether or not their project would get approval, he said.

Proposals of up to Rs 100 crore, on the SIPB’s approval, would be put up before the chief minister for approval, whereas proposal of over Rs 100 crore would be sent to the cabinet’s approval, he said.