| Missed opportunity: An advertisement at the food expo Anuga in Cologne, Germany. Around 6,800 exhibitors from 98 countries took part in the food industry trade fair (AFP) |
The much-talked about trip to Germany for a food fair has come as an embarrassment for industrialists who were supposed to accompany a state delegate to the European country.
The state, according to some industrialists, had inflicted twin wounds by first asking them to pay for the state trip and then failed to inform them about the arrangements on time, which delayed the visa process for the delegates.
A small team, comprising industries minister Renu Kumari, department principal secretary Naveen Verma and few more officers of the industries department left for Cologne to attend Anuga, a five-day food fair for retail trade, food service and catering market on October 4. However, the government team left the industry body delegates behind.
Sources in the department said after much discussion on the payment process of the appointed delegates, consisting of representatives of the industry bodies, a consensus was arrived at. But after the state thought of footing the bills of the entire team, the government could not inform them on time. When the state agreed to foot the bills, it was too late for the delegates to get visas. The five-day fair had started on October 5.
“A letter was sent to us asking us to foot the bills in Germany. We had reacted strongly against it. It should be the duty of the state government to look after a delegation appointed by the state government for representation. There were a lot of discussions and the minister (Renu) had asked the department to look into the matter. By the time a decision was taken, it was too late to get the visas. Hence we could not accompany the state officials to Cologne,” said Satyajeet Kumar, the chairman of (Progress Harmony Development) Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Bihar.
P.K. Agarwal, the president of Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said: “The team left on October 4. The visa process got delayed and none of the members of the delegation could make it to Cologne,” he said.
Both Satyajeet and Agarwal were invited to be the part of the delegation.
The industry bodies were miffed with the “strange” attitude of the government towards a delegate hand-picked by the state itself. “The government does not respect the industry bodies. The follow-up process should have been faster so that we could have arranged the visas. Rather, the minister chose to leave us behind,” an industrialist said.