The Telegraph
Saturday , May 31 , 2014
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Return of roadshows, meetings with potential investors
- Industries minister to set off on a whirlwind tour to advertise incentives, woo industrialists to set up shop in state

Patna, May 30: Roadshows are back with a bang to attract investments in the state.

Industries minister Lesi Singh would visit 10 places in and around the state next month to hold roadshows and meetings to sell the state’s industrial dream to potential investors. She intends to meet industrialists — local and those residing outside the state — to explain to them the industrial incentives on offer in the state and request them to consider investing in Bihar.

“The programme has been set and the tours will start from June 4. Neither the department nor the minister intends to change plan unless an emergency arises. On June 4, the minister and department officials will hold a roadshow-cum-meeting with entrepreneurs and industrialists in Munger district,” a department official told The Telegraph.

The next day they would be in Bhagalpur. From June 9, a department delegation led by the minister would be in Calcutta for a few days. They would be in Darbhanga and Purnea districts on June 12 and 13, respectively. On June 14, the delegation would visit Siliguri in Bengal and on June 18 it would hold a meeting with industrialists in Saharsa. On June 23, there will be a meeting in Saran followed by meetings and roadshows in Muzaffarpur and Bhojpur on June 25 and June 28, respectively.

Singh, the industries minister, confirmed the trips. “Industries will definitely prosper in the state. For that, meeting people and telling them about Bihar and the industrial incentives the state offers is important. We hope that these meetings and roadshows will help,” she said.

Department officials said Singh’s roadshows would be a little different. “They would not be like roadshows seen during elections. The minister and the delegation would not move around in a vehicle and meet people. Wherever the delegation goes, industrialists and entrepreneurs would be invited. They would be told what the state has to offer. Their issues, problems and queries would be heard and on-the-spot solutions would be provided. If any problem is of a bigger magnitude, it would be referred to the department officials concerned so that it could be dealt with seriously.

“A roadmap would be created based on these meetings and there could be changes in existing policies too. The motive is to create awareness and encourage people to invest. It can be called a trust-building exercise,” the official said.

Some in the industry lauded the idea. P.K Agarwal, the president of the Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said: “The minister and her delegation would visit so many places in just a month. This shows she is serious and interested in developing the sector. The move is encouraging for industrialists.”

But others feel roadshows and meetings would not help much, considering the fluid political scene and consistently drying up investments ever since the JD(U) and the BJP alliance was over in the state. They pointed out that former industries minister Renu Kumari attended roadshows and events in Bihar, India and abroad but the state was yet to see big-ticket investment.

“Former industries minister Renu Kumari was very regular with roadshows and events in India and abroad. In January, the state had participated in the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas in New Delhi and officials claimed they got a warm and encouraging response. But it did not translate into real-time investments. The state had participated in the same event last January too, in Kochi. They had then said Brazil wanted to set up a sugar mill in the state. But there is no word yet on the plant. The department organised many roadshows last year. A delegation even participated in a trade fair in Germany. But when it came to investment, the state drew a big zero. Nitish Kumar’s resignation has further dampened spirits. In this state of political uncertainty no industrialist, within or from outside Bihar, would risk a big investment,” said an industrialist.