| Chief minister Nitish Kumar (second from left) at the first meeting of Bihar State Industries and Investment Council in Patna in 2012. Telegraph picture |
State industrialists are miffed at the Nitish Kumar-led government keeping them out of the Bihar State Industrial Investment Advisory Council even after a year of its formation.
The council’s second meeting is scheduled to be held in Mumbai on October 19.
The industrialists buttress that they have pumped in Rs 5,000 crore of the Rs 6,000 crore total worth of investments made in the state over the past few years, so they should get seats in the council. Their argument is that making them council members would enable them to present the problems ailing industrialisation in Bihar.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar is the president of the council, which includes 23 national industry bigwigs like HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh, ICICI Bank chairman K.V. Kamath, State Bank of India former chairman Pratip Chaudhuri, Vedanta working president Anil Agarwal, ITC chairman Y.C. Deveshwar, Godrej Group chairman Jamshyd Godrej, Hindustan Unilever chief executive officer and managing director Nitin Paranjpe, Tata Sons director (finance) Ishaat Hussain, Tata Consultancy chief executive officer N. Chandrasekaran, Axis Bank managing director and chief executive offcer Shikha Sharma and Max India chairman Analjeet Singh.
Several state industrialists told The Telegraph the “cold shoulder” was unacceptable with investments from outside Bihar not coming and a majority of investments being made by them. Industrialists said things had not progressed much even after the council’s formation. “Land still remains a major issue and so does power. In the last meeting, the council members spoke of the same. The Max India chairman had talked about opening a Rs 350-crore multi-specialty hospital in Patna. The project is stuck. The Taj Group’s five-star hotel dream is stillborn. None of these council members has invested in the state. The real-time investments have just come from local industrialists. In such circumstances, those working for the state and in the state should be given their due,” said another industrialist.
With most council members being chairmen of different banks, they were not helping the state, added industrialists. “Bihar is still considered a labour-centric and a consumption state rather than a manufacturing state with no big investments from big houses. If the local industrialists are members of the council, they would speak for the state from their experience here. This can encourage the industrial biggies to invest too,” said an industrialist.
“The first meeting of the council, formed to tap big investments, was held in Patna on September 15 last year. Thereafter, the government apparently forgot about it. The second meeting is now being held in Mumbai. The state has invited a few industrialists from Bihar for it. But there are no industrialists from Bihar among the council members. It is strange that the local industrialists, who form the backbone of the state’s industrialisation, have been ignored,” said Satyajit Kumar, the chairman of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Bihar.