From Bhagalpur to Banka and then again back to Bhagalpur.
There’s more embarrassment for the state government after Calcutta-based Keventer Agro walked out of the Industrial Growth Centre (IGC) in Bhagalpur in August. A month after the state government tried to make up for loss of face by earmarking a 100-acre plot for the company at Bausa sub-division in Banka district for Keventer’s Rs 120-crore mega food park, the land has been scrapped, again.
Now, sources told The Telegraph, the company has been shown another 100 acres, in Kahalgaon area of Bhagalpur, where it all began.
Keventer Agro Managing Director M.K Jalan confirmed the same when contacted. “We will be signing an agreement in this regard next week, positively. The land has been provided and it is a private land. There were problems with the land in Banka and hence the state government was not able to provide it to us,” he told The Telegraph over the phone.
Earlier, the Union ministry of food processing industries had set a November 27 deadline for the state government to ensure that the project was on ground, threatening to, otherwise, cancel the centrally-funded project.
“It is true that the company has been shown 100 acres of land in Bhagalpur. The land is located in Kahalgaon area and is a private land. However, no official communication has come from Keventer regarding the same until now. They (Keventer) are under pressure from the Centre to start the project soon or else the Centre would cancel it. It is important for the company to come immediately and give their consent and sign the agreement if they want to, without any delay,” an official at the industries department told The Telegraph on conditions of anonymity.
The land is located in the same area where the state government had planned to create an Industrial Growth Centre, which, if implemented, would also have this food park. But then the land-owners created lots of problems and all parties exited from the project.
On September 10, the state government had earmarked 100 acres of land for the company in Bausa sub-division of Banka. However, no official agreement was signed and this month saw the state stating that the land, of which only 56 acres could be acquired, that too without compensation for the same being paid fully, was disputed.
“The dispute related to misappropriation of a staggering Rs 19.2 crore, by Jayashree Thakur, an additional district magistrate (ADM) posted in Bhagalpur. After her arrest by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), sleuths said Thakur, who had served as land acquisition officer in Banka, too, was involved in rampant corruption,” another department official pointed out.
With just days left for the deadline, the road ahead is rocky for the company.