| Chief minister Nitish Kumar checks the quality of a brick at Destination Bihar Expo at the Patliputra ground in Patna on Tuesday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
New Delhi’s olive branch in the form of the Prime Minister’s “Growing Bihar” tweet and Governor Devanand Konwar’s removal has failed to dissuade chief minister Nitish Kumar from attacking the Centre.
Reiterating the special status demand once again, the chief minister on Tuesday said a big-ticket investment was still a dream for Bihar because of the Centre’s wrong policies. He was speaking at the inauguration of the six-day “Destination Bihar Expo”, organised by the Bihar Industries Association (BIA) at Patliputra ground.
Nitish said the Centre had never given a thought when it came to industrialisation of Bihar. His lacklustre statements again hinted at the fact that the state is just playing a “waiting game”, passing the buck on the Centre whenever the question of industrialisation and investments crops up.
“The need of the hour is policy support from the Centre. We have not got the same and the state has suffered because of this. Even during the Union budget speech of 2013, stress was laid on the industrial corridor in western and southern India. There has been no thought for Bihar. If things continue like this, it would be a problem for the state but then we would strive even amid this,” Nitish said.
The chief minister said tax exemptions in case of investments were crucial. “Only then the investors, especially the big ones, would be attracted to the same. We are demanding a special category status because of the same reason. There are many central projects in which the state too has got a contribution. In many projects, the funding from the Centre doesn’t come place on time. Co-operation from the Centre is very essential if the state wants big-ticket investments in the state,” Nitish said.
Quoting Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (Biada) figures of 2012-13, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said the agency provided land to 293 units.
“The number of running units on Biada land rests at more than a thousand now. In 2013-14, 450 new units would become operational on land provided by Biada. Banks too have done a good job towards providing loans to investors. During 2010-11, loans worth Rs 2,324 crore were provided to micro-, small- and medium-scale enterprises. The loan amount increased to Rs 2,873 crore in 2012-13,” said Modi.
Industry sources, however, said there was nothing new in what the leaders said.
“The state government has been attributing the Centre’s denial to give special status to the disappearance or lack of big-ticket investments. Any official of the industries department or even business organisations repeat it by adding that all would be fine by 2015, when Nitish Kumar’s promise for complete power becomes true. They are just playing around these two points and have completely ignored a mammoth problem, that of land,” an entrepreneur told The Telegraph.