| The Patliputra Industrial area. Telegraph picture |
The government is mulling an industrial hub in the state but land remains the Achilles’ heel.
The industries department is giving a serious thought to creating a hub that will concentrate on the manufacturing sector with textiles, plastic, leather and steel topping the list.
This comes at a time when the state is struggling to get land for industrialisation and is mulling to frame a policy aimed at getting back government land from failed entrepreneurs so that plots could be provided to those in the queue.
The government has also floated the private industrial area policy, hoping that landowners will come to the fore to lease out or sell their land. The state is also planning to keep the land hunt on during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in January. Bihar would participate in the Divas.
Last month, the department had created a task force — a 13-member team headed by the development commissioner — in the manufacturing sector. All task force members are bureaucrats. The team also has the department’s principal secretary.
“After the creation of the task force, which will work exclusively for development of Bihar’s manufacturing sector, its first meeting was held under the development commissioner. Though things are yet to be discussed and a concrete decision is yet to be taken, there is a consideration towards creation of industrial hub, centred around certain specialisations in the manufacturing sector. The industrial hub will be useful because it will cater to all the needs of the sector. But much work needs to be done if this has to become a reality. Further meetings will decide the future course,” a department officer said.
In last week’s meeting of the task force it was decided that the industries department will appoint an independent consultant who will study the manufacturing sector and come up with a report in three months’ time suggesting improvements.
“The consultant will be appointed soon. We are also considering a draft regarding the independent policy on the manufacturing sector,” the officers added.
Sources said, at present three areas under the manufacturing sector were given preference. “They include textile, plastic and leather. Steel is also a priority,” another officer in the department said.
A hub is an area that has everything a particular sector needs to develop. For example, a leather hub will mean manufacturing of different leather products. Several secondary units related to leather will run parallel on the same plot. The same goes for other sectors.
“The department understands that it needs land for creating such hubs. Sincere attempts are being made in that direction,” the officer said.
Sources said attempts were being made to attract a big business house in any of these sectors so that Bihar could get a good start.
“If a brand settles here, it will definitely attract others. Hope the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will provide such a platform,” the officer said.
However, some industrialists booed the call for a hub. “The government must first think about land. An industrial hub means at least 400 to 500 acres. This, at present, is the biggest problem for the state. The government must cater to the more important things first,” an industrialist said.