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Investment pedals in with Hero

Patna, Aug. 26: Bihar got something to cheer about on the investment front with Hero Cycles today inaugurating its plant at the Bihta Industrial Park.

The plant will commence bicycle production with the help of German technology. The total investment is Rs 45 crore, small by standards of developed states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra or Tamil Nadu but significant for Bihar — which is bereft of any big ticket investment, primarily due to the unavailability of land and quality and cheap power.

Om Prakash Munjal, founder and chairman of Hero Cycles, India’s largest cycle manufacturer, unveiled the company’s latest state-of-the-art manufacturing plant, accompanied by grandson Aditya Munjal.

“It (Bihar) is a great land…land of sacrifice, land of giving. Hero Cycles is based on the same principles and values, that’s why we are here. The plant is a long cherished dream of ours where we get to be close to our customers. We are in Bihar and we will build the bond in Bihar,” Pankaj Munjal, co-chairman and managing director, Hero Cycles, said in his inaugural speech.

The plant is a major step towards strengthening Hero Cycles’s leader position in the eastern market, Pankaj Munjal said, adding that it would initially cater to Bihar and Jharkhand. “The cycles produced at the Bihta plant would be exported to Bangladesh and Nepal too,” he added.

The Bihta plant, set up with an initial investment of Rs 45 crore over an area of seven acres in a record span of 11 months, would initially produce one million cycles per annum. The production capacity would be doubled in the next three to five years to expand its reach to the Northeast, Bengal and Odisha.

Possibly taking a leaf out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” slogan, Pankaj Munjal coined a new term — “Made in Bihar”. “Bihar is the next growth engine of India. We have to touch the lives of every worker associated with the plant,” he said.

The plant would produce cycles with German engineering, he said, while referring to the company’s recent acquisition of a majority stake in Germany’s largest cycle manufacturer, Mifa.

Pankaj Munjal said the “low cost automated plant would generate direct or indirect employment opportunities for over 500 people”.

He also said two ancillary units are coming up at the Bihta Industrial Park itself. One would manufacture frame fork while the other would make mudguards.

Munjal was all praise for the state government, especially principal secretary (industry) Navin Verma and former chief minister Nitish Kumar, for their support in setting up the plant.

Bihar’s industrialists see investments of Rs 40 crore to Rs 50 crore as a positive step.

“The investment of such volume (Rs 40 to Rs 50 crore) could be termed as good in Bihar. The bigger the investment a state wants, the bigger the area (land) and quality and cheaper power supply would be. The government is finding it difficult on both counts,” said industrialist Satyajit Kumar.


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