The Telegraph
Wednesday , September 11 , 2013
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Land eludes govt project

Patna, Sept. 10: Forget private projects, the state has hardly any land for the government ones.

The ministry of commerce and industry has recently shelved a Rs 25-crore textile park project because the state government could not provide 25 acres in Bhagalpur district, around 200km from here.

Under the ministry’s Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme (IIUS), the textile park was to be developed at Industrial Growth Centre (IGC), Kahalgaon, which has been witnessing a series of protests by farmers, whose land had been acquired by Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (Biada).

“The Mega Food Park project, recently shifted to Banka, was to come up in the IGC. However, the textile park project is more important than the food park as it’s a centrally sponsored project with the state being an equity partner. According to the IIUS, the ministry provides 70 per cent of the project funds while the state had to provide land,” an industrialist said today on condition of anonymity.

In 2010, the ministry awarded the project to Bhagalpur Handloom Infrastructure Development, a special purpose vehicle (SPV). N.K. Singh, one of the SPV directors, said: “A letter in this regard from the ministry reached us last month.”

“In 2010, the state government allotted us land (25 acres) in Kahalgaon. But we never got its possession because of different reasons, mainly protests. We wrote innumerable letters to officials of the industries department for help but to no avail,” Singh added.

Sources said the handloom cluster was sanctioned in October 2010. The Centre granted Rs 15.69 crore of the Rs 20.82-crore project. In December 2011, the ministry also released Rs 1.56 crore as first instalment of the grant. Singh said he was on way to Delhi to return the instalment amount.

Asked to explain the development, Sarita Choudhary, joint director, Directorate of Handloom and Sericulture, said: “I am busy in a meeting.”

However, Biada managing director Deepak Singh said: “There is no land at present. Attempts are being made to find land for the project.”

BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, while alleging that chief minister Nitish Kumar has been projecting special status as the only solution for industrialisation in Bihar, today said land was a major issue the state had failed to handle.