Patna, July 29: The core sector investment is coming in trickles, but the road to industrialisation in the state seems to be solid with private players investing huge funds in developing the requisite infrastructure — roads and bridges.
Steadfast on building infrastructure for drawing big investors, the state government has attracted around Rs 15,000-crore investment in the road sector in the past six years. Several projects in the pipeline would draw more funds to the state.
Eleven big companies, including Madhucon VNC consortium, Punj Lloyd, Tantia Constructions Ltd, BSC-C&C Joint Venture, Abhijeet Group, KNR-Patel Joint Venture, Isolux Soma, Navayuga Jahnavi Toll Bridge Pvt. Ltd, MORA Tollways Ltd and Gammon Infrastructure Projects Limited, have lapped up projects in the state between 2006 and 2012. They are at present busy constructing roads in different districts — the lifeline of industries. (See graphics)
Lauding the investment in the road sector in the state, secretary of Asian Development Research Institute Shaibal Gupta said: “Road is the basic need for the development of the state. Bihar being a riverine state, building bridges and roads becomes more important. Development in the road sector also consolidates the economy of the state and that is why the Bihar government is laying emphasis on it.”
Gupta said: “Unless the roads of the state are developed, it is very difficult for any industry to grow because it is the backbone of transportation. How will raw material reach industries and finished products roll out if roads are not there?”
Road connectivity plays a vital role in industrialisation. Good quality roads criss-cross the industrially developed states like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka.
Gupta said: “With the infrastructure developing, the industry sector will draw private investment to the state soon. Private players in the road sector came calling to the state quickly because roads involve one-time involvement. On the other hand, industry is a long-term gesture.”
The better law and order situation in Bihar over the past few years also helped the state woo private players in the road sector. Gupta said: “The investors have developed a faith in the present government on providing them better ambience for investment.”
State road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav echoed Gupta. He told The Telegraph: “The first and the foremost reason behind big private investment in the road sector is the improved law and order situation in the NDA regime in the state. Second, the companies coming here have the faith that they will get a good profit margin. Third, the substantial increase in traffic movement across the state has infused confidence in private investors.”
Yadav said: “The investors are certain that their investment would be in safe hands. Similarly, the state government takes the responsibility of land acquisition, which reduces problems of the investors.”
The confidence among the road sector investors has gone so high that Hyderabad-based construction company KNR-Patel has quoted Rs 100 crore below the base price in the tender floated for the 107km stretch of National Highway (NH) 28A between Muzaffarpur and Barauni. Yadav said: “For the first time a company has offered premium for a project.”
A senior National Highways Authority of India officer, requesting anonymity, said: “Private investors’ great interest in road projects in Bihar has led to a healthy competition in the sector, which in turn would benefit the state.”
Giving reason for investing more than Rs 600 crore in a road project in Bihar, MORA Tollways project director D.S. Bajwa said: “The pro-investment climate of the fastest developing state attracted the company to bid for the 117km road project being executed under public-private partnership mode.”
Bajwa added that the proactive assistance from every department concerned of the state government proved to be a boon for the private investors in the road sector.
“Investors’ confidence is contagious. With the road sector private players confidently investing in the state, funds in the core sector are bound to flow in,” said an entrepreneur on the guarantee of anonymity.