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One step forward, two steps backward
Exit policy prod to Biada

The Bihar State Industrial Development Authority has been directed to speed up the cancellation of lease agreements for its lands in industrial areas so that these can be issued to other parties.

Last year, Biada had introduced the exit policy for six months to take back land issued to industrialists but which were not being used properly. Directions were issued to speed up the process to cancel lease of these units.

Sources said at least 500 investment proposals are waiting for land in the state’s different industrial areas.

An official said: “The Biada at present has 49 industrial areas in the Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur and Patna divisions. Biada now has very little or no land left. The exit policy was introduced from May 1 to October 31 to get back the plots but it did not work out. According to a rough estimate, 500 industrialists have not been able to start their units in spite of getting plots from Biada. They are in no mood to even return the land so that it can be given to industrialists on the waiting list. So, on-field officials have been asked to intensify inspections of the units and submit reports fast so that the plots can be taken back.”

During inspections, Biada officials have even found empty plots leased more than 10 years back. Any industrialist is given a plot at an industrial area by Biada on a lease of 90 years. According to the agreement, the industrialist has to pay 30 per cent of the land cost immediately and the rest over a period of seven years.

“The lease agreements are not being cancelled immediately after a single inspection. The agreement mentions that Biada has the power to cancel the lease agreements if it feels that the industrialist’s unit is not working properly. The industrialist is sent letters and then at least three notices are served before the lease deed is cancelled,” the official said.

The process to cancel the leases started in December. In Patna region, till this January, land lease agreement of 24 units has been cancelled. In the Bhagalpur division, 19 land lease agreements have been cancelled till April. While 12 lease agreements have been cancelled till March in the Muzaffarpur division, two have been cancelled in the Darbhanga region till February.

The official said: “The process is moving at a slow pace in the Patna region. Officials of the district industrial centres have been asked to work faster or else face action. The list of people waiting for plots is long.”

The Patna region is the biggest source of concern for Biada, as most industrialists prefer plots here. “There are industrial areas in Hajipur, Patliputra, Buxar, Jehanabad, Nawada and Aurangabad under the Patna region. The Patliputra Industrial Area has no land at all, while in Hajipur, there is less than an acre land left. Most of the industrialists want land in either Patliputra or Hajipur. The industrialists have been asked to find their own land first and then apply for the approval of their project from the State Investment Promotion Board,” he added.

As part of the cancellation process, the official said: “Last year’s exit policy had given the industrialists a chance to hand over the land. They would have been provided the entire investment according to the current market rates. The lease agreement states that once a land is taken back, no money is returned to the industrialist. With the exit policy, the department took a step forward and offered the industrialists the cost of the land too. But then very few of them availed the policy. Biada is calculating the land they have got back. Last week, a board meeting had been held and some of the vacant plots were given to the waiting industrialists. Biada hopes to give a decent number of vacant plots in the next two months.”


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