New Delhi/Ranchi, Nov. 17: Jharkhand is offering itself as a premium mining destination for even non-ferrous deposits at the 32nd India International Trade Fair (IITF) that was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee on November 14 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
Advertising its versatile and exotic storehouse of mineral deposits and not just “iron ore, bauxite and coal”, the Jharkhand pavilion is trying to attract investors at the prestigious fair in which overseas exhibitors from 22 countries are also taking part.
Hard-selling Jharkhand’s advantages at the 14-day fair are industry secretary A.P. Singh and industries director Vandana Dadel, besides a host of senior bureaucrats.
“This time, the versatility of the mining sector is being showcased in the form of mica, feldspar, granite and quartz instead of the usual display of iron ore, bauxite and coal,” said a senior official at the pavilion.
If mining is the star on the marquee, tribal craft and culture occupy second billing.
Jharcraft, Khadi Board, state departments like mines and geology, tourism, forest, energy, horticulture and Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Authority, which is doing good work in the solar power sector, are all showcasing the face of a resurgent state.
According to officials at the state pavilion, stalls are classified under heads such as public sector undertakings, medium and small industries, mega industries, Jharcraft, Khadi Board and various government departments.
The global fair offers a readymade platform to exhibit advantages.
This year, artisans and craftspersons are also getting free hospitality at the Jharkhand pavilion. The industries department will assist them in marketing their skills.
Many, however, complained that the state pavilion was poorly planned and badly managed.
The reason — Jharkhand allegedly woke up late to the fair.
“As the state applied very late for participation, it got a small space for its pavilion at Pragati Maidan’s rear. It’s a major disadvantage where attracting footfall goes. The fair will open for the general public people on November 19 but it remains to be seen how many come here,” said Sanjay Sharma, a business visitor.
Still, Jharkhand pavilion director Dilip Kumar Sharma maintained that response was good. “Till today, around 9,000 people have visited our pavilion to enquire about our products,” he told The Telegraph.
Many also compared the neighbouring pavilions of two young states Jharkhand and Uttarakhand to the disadvantage of the former. At first look, Uttarakhand pavilion is much bigger with a more attractive entrance.
Though Jharkhand should have managed a better deal, Uttarakhand’s prominence seems justified as it is the partner state for the fair this year.
A pavilion’s beauty is just skin deep. What should bother Jharkhand more is what it would do if investors make a beeline for its mica and quartz.
Though the state is rich in minerals, the act of mining lends itself to hurdles aplenty — land acquisition, forest and environment clearances, Naxalite fear, displacement and resettlement of indigenous populations and related protests.
Heavyweight investors — private and public entities — have all faced them at some point or the other, often causing projects to hang fire for years. When operations do start, monitoring industries not to exceed mining limits is another prickly issue. In July 2012, Supreme Court also scrapped mine permits of six private metal companies in Jharkhand.