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China, Japan incentive for land bank

Patna, June 18: Lucrative knocks from the Chinese and the Japanese have forced the industries department to seriously consider the option of creating a land bank in every district of the state.

Sources said the department would chalk out a plan in association with industry bodies shortly to counter the land problem continuing to haunt industrialisation dreams.

Senior officials from Bihar Industries Association (BIA), an important industry body in the state and the real brains behind private industrial areas, said delegations from Japan and China had approached it in the last few months to seek at least 100 acres each anywhere near Patna and Gaya to facilitate building of a mega industrial-cum-residential township.

BIA president Arun Agarwal said: “A Chinese delegation met us around a month back for initial discussions. Many foreign tourists (particularly from southeast Asian nations) who visit Bodhgaya each year had suggested the idea to obtain 100 acres to build an industrial and residential township. Details would be discussed later. A Japanese delegation contacted us six months ago. There is hardly any land available near Patna or Gaya for investors. So, the state government must think of a way to create land banks in every district. We have forwarded the request has to chief minister. A land bank of 100 acres needs to be created in every district.”

Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi had said recently that each district should have a land bank.

“The matter has come before us too. Many issues in the department need to be addressed. A detailed meeting would be held with all industry bodies and the department. The issue of creating a land bank is one of the priorities and the state government will work towards this. A detailed plan would be made and executed,” Manjhi said.

“Preliminary talks have been held in the matter. However, the idea has to be approved in principle first,” said Shailesh Thakur, the director of the department.

Sources said the job was tough. “In Bihar, farmers and landowners generally resist giving away their plots. So, the government has got a tough job on their hands and the whole idea of the land banks needs to be lucrative enough. However, revival of the Aao Bihar initiative has shown a glimmer of hope. Seventeen people from different districts want to give their land for industrial purposes. So, things, though tough, are opening up,” said another department official.

BIA president Agarwal said steps needed to be taken fast. “Bihar is an example of policy paralysis. There are many policies but the sector needs a lot of help,” said Agarwal.