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Land exit policy elicits bleak response

Five units with 4.5 acres.

That’s how the success report of the Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority’s (Biada’s) exit policy, launched six months ago to help increase its land bank, reads.

With no clear indication about the land returned to the state government, the state’s land problem regarding industrialisation remains.

Sources said the industries department was amid plans to introduce some more measures.

“The exit policy was launched for six months, from May 1 to October 31 this year. Biada gave a chance to unsuccessful business units to surrender their plots to it so that the same could be re-allotted to those interested. Now, the timeframe of the policy has ended and just five units have come forward with their land. They include Alfa Leather Industries, which was operating on 86,120sqft land in the Muzaffarpur industrial area, Shakun Chemicals with 21,780sqft in the Muzaffarpur industrial area, Unicorn Mineral and Beverage Industries with 15,000sqft in the Darbhanga industrial area, Kisaan Chemical Industries operating in Bhagalpur with 37,190sqft and Gupta Rice Mill with 6,400sqft also in Bhagalpur. Biada got just over 4.5 acres from the five units. The numbers are not encouraging,” a department official said.

Sources said the state government’s hopes of getting land for investors was now resting on the private industrial area policy, approved by the cabinet in late August.

Earlier, Biada had officially announced that there was “very little” land left to provide to the waiting investors and the authority would not accept any applications of land till further notice.

“The government has been talking about the private industrial area policy now. The department is also thinking about new ways to get land for investors. It has said some landowners in Mokama (Patna) and Rohtas had approached the government and were willing to provide land under the private industrial area policy. But nothing has been finalised till now. This policy would take time to gain popularity among potential landowners. All attempts to get land are flopping, with the government just introducing more and pinning hopes on them,” said a Patna-based industrialist.

Sources said the department was mulling the creation of “industrial clusters”.

“This idea had been floated by a Patna-based industry body. It is quite similar to the private industrial area policy. A group of landowners would form a cluster of industries and they (landowners) can also keep a part of the land for themselves for residential purposes too. Though it is too premature to say anything on this, the industrial cluster can also become a reality in the near future,” said a source.

Recently, the state government had boasted that its Aao Bihar initiative aimed at getting land from interested landowners had revived with two of them ready to give the same to the government for the setting up of industries.

The scheme was first launched in 2010 but had failed miserably.