Biz bigwigs seek better road links, power supply

Industry captains and trade outfits on Friday requested special attention to road connectivity and power supply in Jharkhand under the 15th Finance Commission, underscoring that central support was crucial to accelerate the growth of the state.

By Our Correspondent in Ranchi
  • Published 4.08.18
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Finance commission chairman NK Singh in Ranchi on Friday. Picture by Manob Chowdhary

Ranchi: Industry captains and trade outfits on Friday requested special attention to road connectivity and power supply in Jharkhand under the 15th Finance Commission, underscoring that central support was crucial to accelerate the growth of the state.

A meeting chaired by commission chairperson N.K. Singh at a city hotel was attended by Tata Steel vice-president (corporate services) Sunil Bhaskaran, Tata Steel vice-president (corporate affairs) Amritanshu Prasad, Usha Martin's Debasish Mazumdar and HEC CMD Avijit Ghosh. Representatives of FJCCI, Ficci, Laghu Udyog Bharti and Adityapur Small Industries Association were also present.

The stakeholders pointed out that the pathetic condition of the Ranchi-Tata stretch of NH-33 demanded immediate attention. They said poor road, rail and air connectivity in Jharkhand were the biggest stumbling block in industrial growth because they drove prospective investors away.

Commission chairperson Singh was surprised when told that even Jamshedpur had no air connectivity. He wanted to know under what circumstances air link to the steel city was discontinued. He was informed that a new airport in Dalbhumgarh, an hour from Jamshedpur, was expected to be operational soon.

Singh was sceptical of the idea of air passengers travelling an hour by road to the new airport and advised making the one in Sonari operational.

Bhaskaran refused to comment on air connectivity, but said: "Jharkhand has made huge improvement in terms of trade, industry and service sector. But, for sustainable development and to maintain an optimum growth rate, we need support from the Union government in terms of devolution of tax share. We have conveyed our sentiments to the finance commission."

The issue of land bank in Jharkhand for industrial units was also discussed. Stakeholders said PSUs held huge swathes of unused land and the government should form a policy in this regard.

Chairman of Mongia Steel Gunwant Singh Saluja raised the issue of poor power supply that not only affected production, but also increased production costs.

Poor road connectivity though dominated the meeting. FJCCI president Ranjeet Garodia told the commission that districts of Jharkhand required a ring road and network of inner roads.

The state industry department had made a PowerPoint presentation, formally demanding Rs 1.50 lakh crore from the 15th Finance Commission.

Additional chief secretary (finance) Sukhdev Singh said the funds were needed for an integrated industrial corridor for Hazaribagh, multi-model hub in Sahebganj under the Sagarmala project, an industrial estate in each district, logistics hub in Ranchi and Jamshedpur, dry port in Bokaro and Dhanbad, and sector-specific parks.