| Sugarcane industries minister Awadhesh Prasad Kushwaha and (right) the department’s principal secretary, Sudhir Kumar, at the news meet at Soochana Bhavan in Patna on Thursday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
In a land-starved state, using space of non-viable sugar mills is one of the few options left to usher in industrialisation.
Four sugar mills, which have hardly any hope for revival, would soon be handed over to either Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (Biada) or the Infrastructure Development Authority (IDA) so that the land could be used for other industries.
Sudhir Kumar, principal secretary, sugarcane industries department, said the Siwan and New Siwan Mill in Siwan district, Guraru Sugar Mill in Gaya and Goraul Sugar Mill in Vaishali district, would be handed over to either of the two government agencies. “To revive any one of the sugar mills, one will have to acquire farm land, which is quite difficult,” he said while presenting the department’s annual report card. Sources said each of these mills came up in an area between 20 and 30 acres. “The mills and the land, which belong to the department, will be transferred to either one of the authorities. Land in the state is a huge problem hampering industrialisation. The land can be further leased out to potential investors for setting up of industries. This, in turn, will bring investments too,” another department official said.
Earlier, the department had stated that seven closed mills — Siwan, New Siwan, Guraru, Goraul, Warsaliganj Mill (Nawada), Hathuwa Mill (Gopalganj) and Banmankhi Mill (Purnea) — would be leased out to other investors by the department. “Four of the seven have not found any takers and hence the decision of handing them over to the land authorities has been made. Three mills — Hathuwa, Warsaliganj and Banmankhi — are still viable but the department emphasises their revival,” the principal secretary added.
At present, five sugar mills — Sugauli Mill in East Champaran, Lauriya Sugar Mill in West Champaran, Raiyam Mill in Darbhanga, Motipur Mill of Muzaffarpur and Hasanpur Mill of Samastipur — are operational after being handed over to private parties.
The mills in Bihta (Patna), Sakri (Madhubani) and the one in Samastipur district have been leased out for non-sugar ventures.
The mill and the land in Bihta were handed to Delhi-based Pristine Logistics and Infraprojects Private Limited for setting up of a dry port. The other two mills have been leased out for setting up of food processing and jute processing units, respectively.
In addition to this, the Hasanpur Sugar Mill will witness an expansion with an investment of Rs 140 crore, said an official of the department.
“The Biada or the IDA will get an average of 120 to 140 acres, which is a good news for the industries. In addition, the Sugarcane Incentive Policy, 2006, has been revised with added incentives with the final draft of the same ready. The same is expected to be approved in any of the cabinet meetings to be held now. The revised policy talks about increased subsidy rates for the farmers and removal of hurdles in the path of expansion of the mills,” Sudhir Kumar said.