The Telegraph
 
CIMA Gallary

Firms make beeline for industries

Patna, Aug. 31: At least 824 firms, including giants like ITC, have applied for plots in various industrial areas of Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (Biada).

After a gap of nearly a year, the Biada invited applications earlier this month for fresh allotment of industrial land across the state.

As on Sunday, the last date for receiving applications for the same, total 824 firms had applied for land allotment in various industrial estates and areas. The Biada sources said several big industry players, including ITC Limited and Hindustan Coca Cola Beverage Pvt. Ltd, have also applied for seeking land under the fresh allotment. All applications were received online through the official website of Biada — www.biadabihar.in.

The process of receiving applications for land allotment was stopped on October 31, 2013. The Biada sources claimed that fresh land allotment started after retrieval of industrial land by it over the past two years through measures like “exit policy” and cancellation of closed units.

“The process of inviting new applications for industrial land allotment was resumed after retrieval of some land through policy measures like exit policy. The industries department has also recently transferred some barren industrial land at Bihar Sharif to the Biada. We started inviting applications for allotment from August 9 and total 824 applications were received by this morning — the last day for the same. The applications would now be scrutinised and personal interviews of the applicants would also be taken. The final approval on allotment would be taken in the next meeting of the project clearance committee (PCC) headed by the Biada managing director,” said a senior Biada official on condition of anonymity.

The official, however, added that no fresh allotment would be made at Patliputra and Bihta Industrial Area in the Patna region as no vacant land is available there. “Still, we have received around 25 applications for land in the Patna region,” said the Biada officer.

Apparently, the Biada does not have a huge land bank with it nor has it undertaken any massive land acquisition exercise across the state in the recent past. The sources claimed that the Biada has around 150 acres of land left in its kitty. Around 1,850 acres are stuck in litigation too.

As per information available on the Biada website, no vacant land is available for allotment in a number of industrial areas, including Kahalgaon in the Bahaglpur region, Bela, Khagaria and Saharsa industrial estates under the Darbhanga region, and Bettiah, Kumarbagh and Siwan industrial areas under the Muzaffarpur region.

As a result of the poor land availability with the Biada, many industrialists are sceptical about the fresh allotments. “The state government has not acquired any substantial chunk of land nor has it created any new industrial area over the past couple of years. However, this is not a permanent solution and no big industries could be set up because of small plot sizes available with the Biada. Also, the location of the available land would not be viable for many applicants. For instance, the Biada does not have vacant land at most sought after locations like Patna, Bihta and Kahalgaon among others. Moreover, actual physical possession of land after allotment is also quite difficult for industrialists,” said Satyajit Singh, chairman, Progress Harmony Development Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Bihar.

Scarcity of vacant land apart, recent hike in industrial land rates is also a dampener for most industrialists. A decision to revise the rates for land in various industrial areas was taken during the 45th board meeting of the Biada held on June 11 and the revised rates were made effective from June 18.

After rate revision, land cost at the industrial estate in the Bhagalpur division’s Barari has risen to Rs 3.85 crore per acre from Rs 8.82 lakh per acre. In Kishanganj’s Kharga Industrial Estate, the cost of land per acre has gone up from 9.52 lakh to Rs 3.15 crore. In Patna’s Patliputra Industrial Area, which has no land left, the rate per acre has gone up from Rs 2.36 crore to Rs 14.95 crore. In the industrial estate at Murliganj in the Darbhanga division, an acre now costs Rs 3.55 crore against the earlier rate of Rs 2.6 lakh.