Patna, March 2: Too many bills don’t always make a law, as has been proved in Bihar.
The state government recently announced in the Assembly that it would present a bill allowing private universities to set up campuses. However, the administration is yet to implement several laws and policies, which have the potential to change the face of Bihar.
Cases in point are the Digha Acquired Land Settlement Act, 2010, and the Information Technology Policy, 2011, which are yet to see the light of day. These laws, if implemented, would have helped bring investments in the hardware, software and real estate sectors. The government, however, is yet to issue a notification to give effect to the Digha Act.
In April 2010, the Assembly passed the Bill to regularise unauthorised occupants of the Rajiv Nagar and Digha areas by charging penalty.
In 1974, the state government had acquired 1,025 acres from several farmers for the Bihar State Housing Board to develop urban housing projects for lower, middle and higher income groups.
However, out of 1,025 acres, around 600 acres was sold off by the erstwhile owners/farmers to other parties making it virtually impossible for the board to execute the project.
The matter went up to the high court, which on February 14, 2011, directed the state government to take a final decision within 90 days to bring the Digha Act into effect.
The resolution of the dispute could have given an impetus to real estate and infrastructure. Sources said the urban development department had finalised the draft for the Digha Act in February last year but it has been put in the cold storage as it allegedly got tied in red-tape. The fate of around 10,000 households hangs in the balance owing to the delay. Urban development minister Prem Kumar said: “We are in the final stages of bringing the act into force. It is a complex and a very old issue involving lakhs of people. We are giving it top priority.” The minister, who admitted a delay in framing rules, assured that all norms would be in place within three months.
Another case in point is the Information and Communication Technology Policy, 2011, which is yet to be implemented even after one-and-a-half years of its formulation in the absence of any rules or procedure.
The government had formulated the policy in September 2011 to create world-class information technology (IT) infrastructure to attract investments and enable youths to land jobs in IT, IT-enabled services and electronic hardware manufacturing units.
Asked to comment on the matter, IT minister Shahid Ali Khan said: “We have prepared the draft rules and the government will speed up the process to give effect to the policy. The administration has acquired 15 acres in Bihta (in Patna district) for construction of an IT park and related industries.”
The government had also created the IT department in 2007 to act as the nodal agency for implementation of the policy. However, industrialist Satyjit Singh, who has been associated with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), said: “Entrepreneurs willing to set up hardware and software firms look for locations where land is comparatively cheaper, and skilled workforce is available. Bihar can take advantage of the situation provided it implements the IT policy in the true spirit.”
Abdul Bari Siddiqui, the leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, said: “There are several Acts which have been passed by the state government for mere publicity. Those were never implemented.”