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Business bodies demand land bank funds

The Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industry would demand grant-in-aid for buying industrial land in its memorandum to the 14th Finance Commission.

“We shall require 20,000 acres in the next 10 years. At the present market rates, its price would be Rs 80,000 crore. The Finance Commission should give the state grant-in-aid for setting up the land bank, which would facilitate acquisition of plots for investors,” the chamber president, P.K. Agarwal, told The Telegraph.

Grant-in-aid is funds sanctioned by the Centre to states for specific projects. The Finance Commission recommends to the Union government its distribution.

Land has been a major bottleneck for industries in the state. Major investors have refused to come to the state primarily because of its unavailability. The state government has so far treaded a cautious path on the issue.

Besides Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bihar Industry Association, and Peace, Harmony and Development Chamber of Commerce would give a joint memorandum to Dr Y.V. Reddy, the head of the 14th Finance Commission, when he comes to Patna on Monday. The organisations would demand major concessions for the state.

The Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industry would demand land along the proposed Delhi-Calcutta industrial corridor, passing through the state. Its other demands include restoration of IT Act 80(B5), which gives 100 per cent exemption to investors in certain backward districts. The provision was withdrawn in March 2004.

It would demand funds for developing airports and request the Finance Commission to take into account the 2011 Census instead of the one conducted in 1971 while recommending funds of erstwhile Bihar has because after bifurcation 75 per cent of the population remained in the state, while could retain only 25 per cent of its assets. It would ask the commission to give the state funds to balance the loss caused by the bifurcation.

The president of Peace, Harmony and Development Chamber of Commerce, Satyajit Singh, said his organisation would demand Rs 50,000 crore as development funds for Patna.

The city can expand in only in one direction — towards Rajgir — because of its geographical limitation, he said. Funds should be allocated for an eight-lane express highway between Patna and Rajgir. He would also demand reintroduction of freight equalisation policy, faster implementation of GST and Chaur area development fund.

Bihar has 4.5 lakh hectares of Chaur areas, waterlogged for nine months a year.

The organisation’s other demands include funds for a dedicated seaport either in Odisha or Bengal for the state.

The trade and industrial organisations would also ask the commission to take into account the Raghuram Rajan Committee report on backwardness of states and the note of dissent given by the panel member Shaibal Gupta, also the secretary of Asian Development Research institute.