Patna, July 15: A sweet ray of hope has rekindled the possibility of economic revival of Naxalite-affected areas in Rohtas district in west Bihar.
Sources said a Chandigarh-based private company has shown interest in setting up a sugar factory at Dehri-on-Sone, a sub-divisional headquarter town in Rohtas district, 155km southwest from Patna.
The firm, KPMG has already conducted a survey of villages between river Sone and Kaimur plateau in southwest Bihar. The representatives of the firm are expected to meet Rohtas district magistrate Anupam Kumar at Sasaram, the district headquarters, next week.
Parminder Singh Saluja, an adviser to KPMG visited Dehri-on-Sone on July 11 and met the members of Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).
“The Chandigarh-based firm is eager to set up a sugar factory at Dehri-on-Sone to accelerate the economic growth in the Naxalite-hit areas of the district,” Jitendra Kumar Rinku Soni, president, BCCI, Dehri-on-Sone, told The Telegraph.
He added: “A representative of the firm visited the town on July 11. After that, a team visited about a dozen villages, including Yadunathpur, Matiawan, Parchha, Chutia, Nauhatta, Singhpur and Rohtas on July 14 to get feedback from the farmers of the area. Village heads also took part in the meetings.”
Villages under the jurisdiction of Nauhatta, Chutia and Rohtas police stations are considered to be the worst Maoist-hit areas of the district.
The farmers of these villages grow sugarcane in large quantity. “At present there is peace and tranquillity in the remote villages, where janadalats (people’s courts) of the Maoists were held earlier,” Soni said. He added that Saluja was very much impressed with the response that he received during his visit. “Though there were three proposals but Saluja showed interest in sugar factory as there used to be a sugar mill at Dalmianagar known as Rohtas Industries Ltd,” Soni said.
When contacted Saluja confirmed his visit to Dehri-on-Sone but refused to divulge the company’s proposed plans for Bihar. “It is in the preliminary stage,” he said.
Another representative of the firm said the company was is keen to invest in the state because of the remarkable improvement in law and order situation.
“Bihar has changed during chief minister Nitish Kumar’s rule. We hope to get a positive response from the state administration. If things move on positively, we will come up with our investment plans soon,” the representative said, preferring anonymity.
Soni, who has played an important role in attracting KPMG Ltd to set up a factory at the sub-divisional town, said the farmers of the villages were very elated with the company’s plan.
Ram Narayan Chandrawanshi, a resident of Matiawan village, said the farmers of the area used to grow sugarcane in large quantity to supply to Rohtas Industries Ltd at Dalmianagar. “However, the sugar factory was shifted from Bihar to Odisha in the late 1960s. The factory, which used to produce 4.8 lakh tonne of sugar every year till 1962-63, was closed,” he added.
“The proposal for the new factory is a ray of hope for us,” said Asarfi Choubey, a resident of Parchha village.
Rohtas deputy development commissioner Arun Kumar Srivastava, who is at present holding the additional charge of the district magistrate, could not be contacted for comment.