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CM woos investors

New Delhi, Nov. 25: Chief minister Hemant Soren today invited industrialists to invest in the state, especially in the agriculture and forest sectors, holding out the assurance that his government would facilitate their initiatives in every way possible.

He harped that though the state had witnessed political instability and had poor rural infrastructure, the government was sincerely working to create investor-friendly policies to promote inclusive growth.

“Jharkhand has abundant natural resources, bountiful water resources, conducive environment, availability of land and a large force of cost-effective labour. The industry must take advantage of these,” Hemant said, addressing a seminar, titled Investment Opportunities in Jharkhand, organised by Ficci and the government.

The state, he said, was keen to improve the value chain, marketing strategies and employment opportunities.

He added that efforts were being made to weed out mediators, who took undue advantage of vulnerable farmers, by building cold storage facilities and boosting rural infrastructure.

Speakers at the seminar noted that while there were several large industries in Jharkhand, the state needed more in the secondary sector. If more and more medium- and small-scale industries come to the state, there will automatically be a huge demand for the tertiary or services sector.

Highlighting state policies, industries minister Champai Soren said many schemes had been implemented in Jharkhand to promote growth in agriculture and silk sectors. Many more such policies were in the pipeline, he added.

Siraj Hussain, secretary, Union ministry of food-processing, suggested that the Jharkhand government set up a cell to look after investment needs to woo industrialists.

He said the state should focus on building godowns and storage facilities for agricultural produce. “Currently, the storage capacity is way below the required level. Also, the state should set up a single-window system for expediting the process of clearances, which hampers initiation of projects.”

Hussain further pointed out that Jharkhand had not been able to gain much from schemes. Hence, it must aim to take advantage of grants and encourage the industry to be a part of progress of the state.

State chief secretary R.S. Sharma said investment opportunities in areas of food-processing, lac cultivation, forest produce, silk and textiles were enormous.

“But these industries need to adapt new technologies to move ahead. Also, the state lacks IT hubs. We require both software and hardware sectors to flourish. Industry captains should think of setting up call centres and IT parks in Jharkhand,” he summed it up.

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