| Miles away |
Patna, Sept. 3: The state’s keenness to explore Mumbai — the commercial capital of India — and woo potential investors in the first meeting of the Bihar State Industrial Investment Advisory Council has run out of steam a year on.
The promised posts of commissioner (investments) and deputy commissioner (investments) of the Bihar State Industrial Investment Advisory Council were created in March, six months after the meeting. But no appointments have been made yet. The proposed commissioner’s office in Mumbai to tap potential investors has not been finalised too.
Former principal secretary of the industries department Afzal Amanullah, now on central deputation, had told The Telegraph last year that the office of the commissioner would be set up in Mumbai at a cost of Rs 1.72 crore. A year on, sources in the industries department said the work regarding the setting up of the office had hardly taken off.
“The office has not been finalised yet. Not much can be said about it at this juncture because the project is far from being final,” a source in the department said.
The Mumbai office, officials had claimed last year, would help the commissioner stay in constant touch with the investors in the business hub of the country and promote Brand Bihar in a proper way. The failure of the state government to appoint the commissioner and set up his office in Mumbai almost a year after the panel’s meeting showcases the lackadaisical approach of the state towards drawing big-ticket investment to Bihar.
The state government had promised to appoint a commissioner (investments) and a deputy commissioner (investments) last September after the first meeting of the Bihar State Industrial Investment Advisory Council. Six months later, the posts were created in March. But nobody has been appointed in these positions yet.
Naveen Verma, the principal secretary of the industries department, confirmed that the two posts had been created but parried query on appointments. “The state government created two posts — one of the commissioner and the other of the deputy commissioner — in March. I cannot specifically say whether an appointment has been made or not,” the official said.
Shailesh Thakur, the director of the industries department, said: “I don’t have much idea because I am not looking into the matter.”
Officials at the general administration department of the state government, however, confirmed that until now the state government had not appointed anyone in the two positions.
“The posts have been sanctioned but nobody has been appointed until now. The industries department has forwarded a proposal and the file is on move. No specific date can be given on the appointment because it requires the approval from the cabinet,” said an official, on condition of anonymity.
Sources said the proposal to set up an office of the state industries department in Mumbai was an enthusiastic step of the state government after the first Bihar State Industrial Investment Advisory Council meeting.
“Top industrialists of the country had visited the state during the meeting in the first week of last September. They had assured us of all help. Mumbai is the business hub of the country. Most of the top companies and industrialists are based there. The state government had thought of setting up an office in Mumbai to be in direct touch with the potential investors. With an office and officials in the commercial capital, the state definitely would have been noticed. The sluggish approach towards executing the ideas is unfortunate,” a source in the industry said.
Industrialists of the state said the developments showcased the indifferent attitude of the government towards big-ticket investments.
An industrialist, on the condition of anonymity, said: “The state authorities were very excited after the meeting but now everything is back to square one. They have lost interest. Otherwise, the Mumbai office and the officials to man it would have been in place by now. Unless the state government is really serious about investments and strives for it, nothing can be done.”