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CM clears biz fears in meet

The chief minister clarified on Monday that investors in food processing industries would get the promised 35 per cent subsidy.

Patna High Court, in its December 14 verdict, said the entrepreneurs who set up units between May 2007 and December 2008 would have to be given the subsidy amount according to the state’s food processing policy.

At the third Udyami Panchayat — held on the last Monday every month — Nitish Kumar said the government would honour the high court’s order. Industrialists Satyajit Kumar and KPS Keshri have welcomed Nitish’s statement and said it would create a positive and conducive atmosphere for further investments. “During the meeting, Nitish said two sets of opinion were put up before him vis-à-vis giving subsidy to the firms (set up between May 2007 and December 2008). Since the high court has delivered its judgment, there should not be any problem in implementing the order,” Satyajit, who set up Shakti Sudha Industries, which processes makhana (fox nuts) at Patliputra Industrial Area.

The cabinet announced in April 2007 that any entrepreneur wishing to invest in food processing sector of up to Rs 5 crore would be given 35 per cent subsidy that would be reimbursed later but till date 13 units, which made overall investments of Rs 20 crore, have not been given Rs 7 crore (35 per cent of total investment) even after five years.

A litany of complaints and grievances — land acquisition, high energy tariff, non-grant of subsidy, bureaucratic hurdles among others — were put up by entrepreneurs at the meet. Later, industries department principal secretary Navin Verma said a plenty of complaints had been raised by rice and wheat mill owners to which Nitish promptly directed the officials to have a meeting to sort out their problems.

The chief minister also appealed the entrepreneurs to go for “branding” to sell rice and wheat, Verma said, adding that Nitish had emphasised to increase the manufacturing sector’s share in Bihar’s gross state domestic product (GSDP) in the next five years as the current 16 per cent GSDP rate has been achieved because of huge public investments, boom in construction and trade and commerce.

He said industry associations and the Bihar Industrial Area Development Agency (Biada) have together prepared a draft proposal of “exit policy” according to which any entrepreneur could come out if his/her unit turns sick by giving the land back to the Biada at a good price. At present, there is a provision for transfer of sick unit but it becomes very expensive because of prevalence high rate. Of the total 1,015 proposals worth Rs 301 lakh crore cleared by the State Investment Promotion Board since 2006, a total of Rs 5,021 crore could be translated into reality through 233 units, including 143 new ones, he said.


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