For the first time in more than 18 years, a chief minister of Bihar met a group of industrialists from FICCI, inviting them to invest in business opportunities in the state.
Addressing a gallery of infrastructure, hotel, pharma, textile and alcohol industry players, Nitish Kumar, five months in the CM’s saddle, unleashed a flurry of aces with one point to make — ‘‘Bihar has changed’’.He hastened to add: ‘‘If you don’t believe that, at least believe that things are changing’’. Unveiling a series of initiatives for industrial investment such as the Single Window Clearance Act, Kumar said: ‘‘A development commissioner will be the single-point person for all investment proposals and if any government department doesn’t grant approvals within set limits, proposals will be ‘deemed’ cleared.’’Industrial policy initiatives apart, Kumar also emphasised that the law and order situation has improved considerably. He lined up a series of measures, implemented and proposed: ‘‘The fear has gone from people’s minds. In a case of kidnapping at Gopalganj in January, within 93 days, the culprits have been arrested, chargesheeted, tried and convicted. We are speeding up trials for Arms Act convictions. In cases of criminals out on bail with other cases pending against them, we are arguing for bail cancellations.’’He made it clear that he didn’t expect industry to come to the state for ‘‘charity’’ — public investment would be high with or without private investment. ‘‘The state on its own will invest Rs 2,000 crore on pucca roads for rural villages with populations of 500 or more.’’Planning Commission member and chairman of the Special Task Force on Bihar Satish Jha echoed him. ‘‘Bihar is at a take-off stage. You (industry) will come to Bihar not as a sympathiser, but seeing your own business and profitability on a competitive basis,’’ he said.Former Planning Commission member N K Singh supported Bihar’s case, saying, ‘‘Bihar is the first state to have a Single Window Clearance Act for investments and an Infrastructure Act. If all this is possible in two months, we are looking at an upward journey of exponential growth and Bihar can accelerate India’s GDP growth rather than drag it down like in the past.’’ More on this here
In another development initiative the state government is likely to seek financial assistance worth Rs 3,000 crore from the Centre to renovate 2,455 kms of newly-converted national highways (NHs) in the state. Under NH Development Plan-phase one, nearly 206 km long roads have been brought under Golden Quadrilateral Project.
These roads which pass through Mohania, Sasaram, Dehri-on-Sone, Aurangabad, Dobhi and Barachatti are being developed into four-lane roads by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The NHAI has already completed its works on 181 km long roads, according to RCD sources. The work on the remaining portion which includes construction of a fly-over and three big bridges would be completed by June this year.Under the NH Development Plan-phase two, 513.30 km roads passing through Gopalganj, Piprakothi, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Forbesganj, Araria, Purnia and Kishanganj have been brought under East West Corridor Project. The state government has extended every possible help to NHAI in this regard. After the completion of this work, Bihar would have two four-lane corridor.More on this here and here.