Patna, Nov 18 (IANS) Despite the NDA government claiming significant development in the state, the Bihar Chamber of Commerce (BCC) feels the eastern state lacks basic infrastructure to attract investors.
Speaking to IANS, Amit Mukherjee, Secretary General of BCC, said: "The overall industrial environment is not impressive in Bihar. Developing industrial corridors requires wide roads not less than 6-lane, but we hardly have 6-lane roads in Bihar."
Two major national highways (NHs) -- Delhi-Kolkata NH 2 and Delhi-Lucknow-Siliguri-Guwahati NH 27 -- pass through the state but they are both 4-lane roads.
"We have two major NHs passing through Bihar, but what we need is approach roads of at 3-lane from each sides. The major roads -- Patna-Gaya, Patna-Arrah-Sasaram, Patna-Arwal-Dehri -- are all 2-lane. Even the Patna-Mokama-Bhagalpur NH 31 is 2-lane. The Nitish Kumar-led government has developed the Hajipur-Muzaffarpur 4-lane state highway, but proper connectivity with Patna is lacking. Moreover, the road connectivity from Muzaffarpur to Darbhanga (NH 27) is not smooth," Mukherjee said.
"Investors will come to Bihar only after we offer them good road connectivity. Unfortunately, the 2-lane approach roads are not good enough to attract the investors. Moreover, there is no clarity over widening of the existing roads," Mukherjee said.
In the run-up to the recent Assembly elections, Nitish Kumar had said that 96,500 km roads have been constructed in the state in the last 15 years under both Central and state government schemes, an the construction of 18,600 km roads were underway.
During the Assembly polls, both the NDA and the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan had emphasised on the development of food processing units in Bihar. The BJP in particular had raised the slogan 'vocal for local' while referring to lychee farming in Muzaffarpur, Makhana and the local fisheries industries. In its election manifesto, the NDA has also promised to create 19 lakh employment opportunities for the youth of the state.
"I want to point out that Bihar does not have an unit of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). As a result, the industrialists involved in this business go to Kolkata, Hyderabad or Bengalurur for testing and obtain certificates before launching their products in the markets. It is a time consuming process and processed food items have time limits for quick consumption. We had pointed this out in the last meeting with the Agriculture Secretary of the Bihar government, but nothing has happened so far," Mukherjee said.
"Making industrial corridors require land acquisition to develop Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Unfortunately, the rate of lands in Bihar is extremely high. Moreover, industries require cheap electricity and good water supply to flourish," he added.
Mukherjee, however, seemed satisfied with the law and order situation in Bihar. "Apart from a few cases, the law and order situation in Bihar is good. It is much better than Maharashtra or Haryana," he said.