| Principal secretary, industries, Afzal Amanullah (centre) goes through applications of complainants at the first Udyami Adalat. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Problem: Ajit Sharan, the proprietor of the Kumhrar-based Himalaya Food Products, which deals in spices, is a troubled man. For the past two years, he has been running from pillar to post for a loan of just Rs 5 lakh to expand his business. “I had applied for the loan through the District Industries Centre (DIC) of the state government. But there has been no intimation, either from them or from the banks. The two nationalised banks I had approached have said no to me. Moreover, some of the bank officials are asking for a 10 per cent cut as bribe,” said Sharan.
Solution: “Why is the DIC not ensuring that his loan gets sanctioned? This can be done so easily but you are just acting as per your whims and fancies it seems. Ask your boss to immediately solve his problem or strict action will be initiated. We will also take care of the bank problem,” said Afzal Amanullah, principal secretary, industries.
n Problem: S.A. Narayan, 83, a representative of the Patna-based Vankos and Company, which is engaged in the manufacturing of hydraulic jets and other equipment, is worried. “Our company is 56-years-old. We have applied for an MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) certificate since 2011 but haven’t got it. Biada (Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority) has given us bills in the form of ground rent, maintenance etc to the tune of Rs 2 lakh of which Rs 1.08 lakh is just bank interest. We didn’t get any intimation from Biada. It was only after we applied for the certificate that the bills were given to us. We aren’t in a position to pay now,” he said.
Solution: “You should talk to your owner and can first pay the department Rs 1 lakh and the rest of the amount can be in 10 monthly instalments. The land belongs to Biada and the amount has to be paid in order to get the certificate. The department will ensure that you don’t face problems and the certificate is issued,” Amanullah said.
The big guns of business might still be cagey when it comes to investing in Bihar, but the state wants to nurture those who are already here but are facing teething problems which can be solved without too much sweat.
At the first Udyami Adalat, organised by the state industries department on Friday, a dozen industrialists came up to air their problems and grievances, some technical, a few trivial.
“It is really sad. Most of the problems were just teething issues which can be solved quite easily. But they (the industrialists) have to move across so many departments to resolves issues. Now that the state hopes to get big industrialists to come and invest, we have to ensure that those already doing business in the state, whether big or small, are nurtured and helped timely,” Amanullah told The Telegraph on the sidelines of the meet.
The business advisory council met about two weeks ago and top corporate czars agreed that Bihar had potential provided the government focused on infrastructure, especially power. The industrialists pledged to help the government fulfil its power promise but the state realises that it has to first make the environment friendly for businessmen like Sharan and Narayan.
S.K. Singh, another Bihar-based industrialist present at the adalat, was angry. “The company (Vaishali Woollen and Textiles Mills Limited) belonging to the government and based in Hajipur started in 1979 and I am a minority shareholder in it. But after a few years of operations, it shut down due to lack of power. Now the government, which includes Biada, BICICO (Bihar State Credit and Investment Corporation), have just let it go and all the legal notices are falling on me. I am on the verge of going to prison. Why cannot the government help me out on this?” he said.
The industries department said the case would be discussed on priority basis at its board meeting. Singh says he hopes the department means business and would not offer just lip-service.
Amanullah said some industrialists had complained of corruption and the department would come down heavily on any form of graft.
Sitaram Jain, the owner of the Rajlaxmi Udyog based at Fatuha (Patna), has alleged that the Textbook Corporation was “playing games” with his company which has a printing business.
Amanullah promised redress. “The corporation will be asked about this. The industrialist says he has been losing tenders due to what can be said is corruption. These things will be dealt with strictly and he won’t face any problems, we assure this,” he said.
Department officials said the next adalat would be held in October after Dussehra.