Himachal to roll out red carpet for entrepreneurs

  • IANS, Shimla
  • Updated: Oct 13, 2014 16:28 IST

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh is going to roll out the red carpet for entrepreneurs to woo investment in industry, tourism and hydropower.

The industries department will hold summits in New Delhi, Ahmadabad, Mumbai and Bangalore in the first phase during Nov 3-7, Rajinder Singh, the director of industries, told IANS. In the second phase, the state's investment potential would be showcased in December in Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata.

The chief minister along with industries minister Mukesh Agnihotri and government functionaries would meet investors and try to project the state as an ideal destination for investment owing to surplus electricity and cheap manpower.

The investors' summits have been planned in coordination with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the chief minister has written letters to all top business houses.

Besides meeting honchos, Himachal Pradesh is going to showcase its investment potential in the hydropower, hospitality and agro-commodities trading.

"Our main priority is to woo investment in environment-friendly industries like IT and food processing, light engineering and hospitality and hydropower," a senior official told IANS, not wishing to be identified.

He said the chief minister was likely to announce special incentives to attract investment at the meeting with top company functionaries.

The state is also eyeing big investment in infrastructure development, mainly in urban areas.

Less than three months after taking power in December 2012, the Virbhadra Singh government opened a single-window system to not only help businessmen get time-bound clearances but also guarantee approvals from different departments within a specified time-frame.

"We have made officialdom accountable and tried to remove policy hurdles to check procedural delay," industry minister Agnihotri told IANS.

He said the state had approved industrial proposals worth Rs.48,000 crore in the past 10 years but got investment worth only Rs.13,000 crore.

"Where have Rs.35,000 crore in investment gone? Those were never made because of, mainly, procedural lapses," Agnihotri said.

Official data shows that Himachal Pradesh got maximum investment in seven years, from 2003 to 2010, when there was a special industrial package of the central government.

Most investment was in pharmaceutical, food processing, textile, packaging and light engineering sectors Agnihotri said project approval from the single window clearance and monitoring authority now would be given within 90 days.

"Once the proposal gets clearance from the single window, headed by the chief minister, all permissions ranging from pollution, revenue and other departments would be cleared within 90 days," he added.

There are 39,819 industries with an investment of Rs.17,339 crore in the state, says Himachal Pradesh's latest economic survey report.

Horticulture is a vital sector in the state economy. It generates more than Rs.3,200 crore annual income.

To attract private investment, the state allows private investors to get land at a token lease money of Re.1 for setting up controlled atmosphere stores in the rural areas.

Himachal Pradesh's hydropower generation potential is 23,000 MW - about 25 percent of country's total hydropower potential. However, only 8,432 MW of power has been tapped till December last year, which is 36 percent of the total potential.

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