Patna, Oct. 21: Five firms from Gujarat have shown interest in setting up units in Bihar, industry minister Renu Kumari said today.
She, however, refused to share details, saying she would do so once the proposals are concretised.
The minister said the proposals came after the ITC group showed eagerness to set up a food processing industry.
“Five Gujarat-based industrialists have expressed the desire to set up food processing units in the state. At this moment, nothing more can be revealed as things are being finalised. The details regarding the proposals will be announced soon. The state government will provide help to these companies as well as to ITC regarding land,” Renu Kumari told The Telegraph.
One Gujarat-based company, the Shrenuj Group, has already started a diamond cutting centre in Bihar with an investment of Rs 600 crore.
ITC’s proposal was made during the meeting of the Bihar State Industrial Investment Advisory Council in Mumbai on Saturday. The company has set a condition of being allotted 40 acres of land near Patna for setting up the unit.
Though the industry department is silent about the quantum of investment to be made by ITC, the company’s chairman, Y.C Deveshwar, had at the Global Bihar Meet in Patna in 2007 announced they were looking at pumping in Rs 300 crore into a project in Munger.
But no investment was made. At the meeting in Mumbai, Deveshwar was vocal, saying they had been looking for land in Bihar for long but had not succeeded.
The government now says it would help the company get land in Ara (Bhojpur), around 50km west of Patna, or in Mokama, around 100km east of the state capital.
The government says land-owners in these areas were ready to cooperate.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar, speaking on the sidelines of his janata durbar, said the government had told industrialists that they were free to buy land and the state would take care of development.
Some local industrialists though appeared miffed, saying the government was “active” about providing land to new units, but was deliberately brushing aside existing projects.
“It was the same government which was a mute spectator when the Kahalgaon Mega Food Project in Bhagalpur got scrapped due to the problems of the landowners,” an industrialist said.