The Telegraph
Thursday , July 24 , 2014
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Land bank for industry

Patna, July 23: The government has decided to create land banks in the districts to meet the problem of land availability industrialists often face in Bihar.

Last month, industry bodies floated the idea before the industries department. Although the finer details are yet to be chalked out, the idea is to solve the land scarcity issue in future. It is expected to receive cabinet approval in the next meeting.

Sources said around 300 to 500 acres would be purchased in all the districts. Officials are working on the details before presenting it to the cabinet for approval. The government would not acquire the plots of land through Biada (Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority) but directly from landowners at the current market rates.

An official in the department said: “The government has approved in-principle the plan to create land banks in the districts. It was discussed extensively in the cabinet meeting on Tuesday. The proposal is expected to be approved in the next cabinet meeting. The creation of land banks is a new step on the part of the government to ensure that the land scarcity problem is solved to a great extent. At present, the department is in the midst of discussions on the area (size) of plots that should be bought and stored.”

Arun Agarwal, the president of Bihar Industries Association (BIA), welcomed the decision.

“The BIA had floated the idea and it is a welcome step that the government has approved it. We had proposed that each district should have a land bank of 500-1,000 acres. At present, the situation of land availability in Bihar is not too good — the land bank concept is the state’s future. Bihar would have get more entrepreneurs and industrialists in future and all of them would need land to set up units. The entrepreneurs would come up with many novel ideas, which can help in the state’s development. If Bihar does not have land for them, they will move out and it won’t be a good sign. So, for the help of the future entrepreneurs, this land bank has to be created,” said Agarwal.

At present, Bihar has been pushing and advertising its private industrial area policy through meetings and road shows to attract investors. Bihar, right now, has two private industrial areas — one in Mokama on the outskirts of Patna and another at Mahua in Vaishali district. The State Investment Promotion Board approved these.

The one at Mokama — Ram Chatradhaari Industrial Area Private Limited — is being developed over an area of 40 acres while the Vaishali Industrial Park in Mahua is spread across an area of 100 acres.

Officials in the industries department said a well-framed policy for the proposed land bank is being made.

“The creation of the land bank would definitely be a time-taking process. The government needs to decide on a lot of things and form teams to conduct surveys and identify plots in the districts to be used as land banks. Once it is done, the landowners would be called and the government would negotiate on the rates. Whether the land banks, after their creation, would be kept on reserve or given to the industrialists is being discussed. There has to be a proper framework.”