Malanpur Industrial Area (MIA), the largest industrial hub in Gwalior's proximity, was set up in 1984 to create jobs, especially in the wake of the closure of JC Mills and CIMMCO, a steel moulding factory.
Amid an atmosphere of insecurity created by rampant menace of dacoities, then Union minister Madhavrao Scindia is learnt to have persuaded industry barons to set up units at Malanpur.
Soon this barren stretch of land in Bhind district was transformed into a booming industrial town. In a decade, about 275 units were set up at Malanpur and 186 at Banmore industrial area in Morena district.
Though initial burst of boom didn't last long, the MIA today is home to companies with an accumulated investments of about Rs 4,500 crore. Big companies such as Godrej, Cadbury and Crompton Greaves have units here.
Industrial Infrastructure and Development Corporation general manager KK Tiwari said that an indicator of MIA's health was "the fact that not a single work day was lost to workers' strikes." He said that another sign of growth at MIA, which provides employment to about 10,000 people directly and thousands of others indirectly, was that all units at the site have expanded their capacities.
However, industrialists point to alleged bad maintenance of the basic infrastructure such as street lights, roads and drainage. Only a few sectors have concrete drains, and the site lacks a common affluent treatment plant. During monsoons, the effluents spill onto roads, they said.
The owners of small and medium units complained of long power cuts and others of the absence of cooperation between state departments such as state electricity board and pollution control board.
General secretary of MP Chamber of Commerce and Industries Bhupendra Jain said, "The government shall adopt industry-friendly policies and simplify rules, relax taxes and end red tape to allow industry grow."
The MIA, which is about 22km from Gwalior city, lacks housing, healthcare, education, hotel and recreation facilities, forcing top executives and white collar workers to travel to Gwalior for these.
Industrialists say that Malanpur and Banmore in Morena district have the potential to develop as major industrial destinations owing to their proximity to Gwalior, which is about 300km from the national capital.
In the run up to the investors meet beginning on Wednesday in Indore, industrialists have been consistently asking the government to revive and upgrade existing industrial hubs while seeking investments in new zones.