A proposed mega food park near Kahalgaon has been shelved after waiting two years for land allotment.
The much-hyped project was supposed to come up on Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority’s (Biada’s) land. Calcutta-based Keventer Agro Ltd — the manufacturers of soft drink Frooti — was supposed to develop it.
But like a number of previous projects — a textile park, cement factories of Amrit and Star and the Ganga power project — the food park, too, has left the district because Biada was unable to provide 80 acres of land for it.
M.K. Jalan, the chairman of Keventer Agro Ltd, said: “The project was sanctioned in 2010. As mango, litchi, banana, guava and maize are easily available in Bhagalpur, the Union ministry of food processing industries gave its sanction for setting up the project in the district. We have been waiting for more than two years to get possession of land but despite assurances from the local administration, we have got nothing.”
If the project had been set up, it would have produced food-based soft drinks.
The state government had reportedly promised to provide the company land at some other place within six months. It had also written a letter to its central counterpart in July 2013 stating the promise.
“It is very unfortunate. We would have invested Rs 700 crore for the mega project. More than 25,000 people of Bhagalpur would have benefited. But we did not get possession of land,” he said.
Source said the owners of the land, which was acquired for the project, have been demanding higher compensation. But neither Minjaz Alam, the divisional commissioner who had taken several initiatives to provide allotted land to the company, nor Bhagalpur district magistrate Prem Singh Meena were available for comment. Official of Biada, too, were tight-lipped.
Industrialists, on the other hand, blasted the authorities for allowing investment to leave the state.
Mukutdhari Agarwala, chairman, Eastern Bihar Industries Association, said: “It seems the government is not willing to make the required effort to bring industries to the state. The government had acquired over 1,000 acres in Kahalgaon but owing to some problem or the other, the plots were not allotted to the firms. As a result, the district has lost the opportunity to get more than Rs 20,000 crore investment.”
WAIT TOO LONG
Mega food park of Calcutta-based Keventer Agro Ltd
Rs 700 crore
No land allotted in three years