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Land woes for hotel dreams

The “five-star hotel” dream in Bihar, which notched the seventh rank among states in terms of foreign tourist footfall in 2011, is fast drifting away from reality.

The state government received five proposals for five-star hotel projects in the past three-and-a-half years. But none of them could take off.

On September 18 this year, the State Investment Promotion Board (SIPB) gave the green light to the Taj group to set up a five-star property in Patna at Rs 92 crore. More than three months have passed since that, but there has been no update on the project.

Naveen Verma, principal secretary, industries, on Saturday said: “I don’t have any information about the project for now. Records need to be checked for that.”

However, sources said “land problems” had impeded the progress of the project. “The Taj group had been told to find land on its own and once that was done, the government would help them. Neither the group has said anything thereafter nor have talks progressed between the two sides. However, there was a buzz that the group wanted the government to provide it with land, which isn’t possible,” a department official said.

State tourism minister Sunil Kumar, however, said: “It is true that the absence of five-star properties in Bihar is affecting the tourism sector. The companies eager to set up hotels in the state should understand that the government can’t acquire land for them. There is no such policy. The state government has always said the companies can come and acquire the land. The government will help them in all possible ways. We will ensure that the registration process is made easy. In fact, the land registry will be done for free. All care will be taken to ensure that there are no false claimants to the land at a later stage and the possession process is smooth.”