The invitation is there but hardly anyone is coming to Bihar.
An ambitious and promising state government project, launched in March last year with an aim to help potential investors in search of land, has failed to deliver the desired results.
Termed “Come to Bihar”, the unique scheme of the state industries department talked about creating a database of people who are willing to sell their pieces of land.
The government, in turn, would provide this information to potential investors who are willing to set up projects in the state.
More than 18 months after the scheme was launched, no one except just two persons — one ffrom East Champaran and the other from Purnea district — have approached the department willing to sell off their lands.
One of them, Rajendra Gupta, a resident of East Champaran, told The Telegraph that he was highly confused. “We — me and my partner — have got 50 acres of land along the NH-28 and had proposed to sell it off to any potential investor as per the scheme. I had contacted the department and had given our land for sale around a year back. But until now, neither the state government nor any industrialist has contacted me. I don’t know what is going on,” he said.
According to the plan, the government would not play any role in negotiating the rate of the land and it would be decided by the landowners.
To ensure that the investors know the prices of the land well in advance, the scheme also talks of procuring price details from the landowners while collecting information about the plot they want to put up for sale. In addition to the same, a condition has been put in the scheme to safeguard the investors from unjustified demands of landowners at the time of actual deal. This condition would ensure that the landowner would have to stick to the rate at least for six months that they would quote while furnishing details of the land on offer.
Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (Biada) secretary B. Ojha said that there had been practically no response from either the landowners or investors.
“There were two proposals from landowners which had come and we had sent the same to the respective district magistrate’s office for verification. The verification part was important to know whether the land actually belonged to these persons and whether there were any technical issues related to their lands. But the district administration never got back to us with the verification reports. The Biada sent reminders to them on two separate occasions but no answer came in. At this moment, we can say that the plan has not been functional yet,” Ojha told The Telegraph.
He suggested that the scheme needed to be overhauled and made more luring.
“The scheme needs to be made more attractive and luring so that landowners come by themselves,” he said.
The state tourism department also had adapted the same plan hoping that investors would come up with resorts and hotels, which will give a boost to the tourism sector.
“This plan basically is of the industries department. Not even a single investor has contacted us in the same connection,” said Navin Kumar, the deputy general manager of the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation.
Business organisations said that the failure of the scheme was evident. Satyajit Singh, the vice-president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) eastern region, said the land records of the state were not updated.
“In Bihar, the land records are not updated and there are many claimants for a single plot. If one party is ready to sell the land, others don’t agree and soon a legal standoff starts. In such a situation, no investor will come to buy the land. The only solution is that the government should acquire lands and create a proper record for the same. The land holding in the state is less than one acre per family. As a result, very few landowners will be able to put up their land on sale under the scheme,” Singh added.