The Telegraph
Sunday , July 20 , 2014
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Land rate pain for industry

- First Biada rate revision spells trouble for projects

Patna, July 19: Tough times are in store for industrialists who decide to approach Biada for land to set up units in Bihar thanks to an astronomical increase in rates.

On June 18, per acre rates in industrial areas under Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (Biada) went up for the first time. Industrialists said now it would be even more difficult to get new projects to the state, while Biada officials said the revision was due since last year.

An official in the rank of executive director said: “The industrial incentive policy states that Biada land rates would be revised every 10 years. It was due last year, but it couldn’t be done. We have set the price keeping in mind the land circle rate set by the government and also the rates of commercial and residential plots.”

Biada was set up in 2003.

P.K. Agrawal, president, Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries, today said it was a catastrophic step for industrialisation in Bihar.

“The government set up Biada so that industrialists could get land at reasonable prices. Biada does not sell land to the industrialists but leases it out for 90 years Now, very few industrialists would be able to take land at such high rates,” Agrawal said.

According to Biada’s land agreement, an industrialist wishing to take land has to pay 30 per cent of the land cost immediately. The rest can be paid over seven years.

A delegation from the organisation met chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh on Wednesday to discuss the issue as well. Although the revision won’t affect industrialists with agreements drawn up before, new projects or land transfer would be hit.

Biada has not made fresh acquisitions for almost a year and just has around 150 acres of land left in its kitty. Around 1,850 acres are stuck in litigation too. Still, land at the industrial estate in Bhagalpur division’s Barari would come for Rs 3.85 crore per acre instead of 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 would now cost Rs 3.55 crore against the earlier rate of Rs 2.6 lakh.

Another industrialist said: “The government might have told the industrialists to arrange their own land, but whenever a party wants to set up a unit, the first choice to approach for land is Biada. The land authority has around 150 acres left for allocation now. Around 1,850 acres are stuck in litigations. The Industrial Growth Centre in Kahalgaon was cancelled because of farmers’ protest. Sooner or later, the Biada would start acquiring land and if the rates are kept so high, industrialists would not come with projects. There is no use of Biada if the rate is at par or more than the price quoted by private landowners.”