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Industrial infra in a shambles as MP gears up for investors meet

indore Updated: Sep 13, 2016 11:51 IST

Manoj Ahuja, Hindustan Times, Indore
Highlight Story

Pithampur is one of the largest industrial hubs in the country. (HT file)

Madhya Pradesh claims to have created a 25,000-hectare land bank for the industry with 9,000 hectares “fully developed” land, but most industries are still opting for the Pithampur industrial area only where land is limited. The reason: Other industrial hubs either have infrastructure-related problems, such as poor roads and water shortage, or are located in remote areas where few industries want to venture.

It’s not that Pithampur – one of the largest industrial hubs in the country – is not touched by problems, but comparatively better infrastructure, centralised location and good connectivity make it a favoured choice of investors.

As the state gears up to host another global investors summit – to be held on October 23 and 24 – HT takes a look at the condition of key industrial areas:

PITHAMPUR INDUSTRIAL AREA

While road infrastructure has improved to a great extent and industrial units also get regular power supply, water supply to the area remains erratic. Besides, the township that has a population of about 1.30 lakh lags behind in civic amenities such as schools, healthcare facilities, parks and entertainment spots.

According to official figures, the daily water supply to the industrial area – provided the reservoirs are full – is 12 MLD (million litres per day) as compared to a demand of 18 MLD. However, water level in the two main sources, Sanjay Jalashay and Karam dam, goes down drastically in the summer, which leads to acute water shortage.

To meet the requirement, the industrial units have to depend on water tankers, groundwater and recycled water. Then, diversion of water for agriculture use also remains a problem.

Audyogik Kendra Vikas Nigam (AKVN) Indore managing director Kumar Purushottam says water shortage will become a thing of the past once the Narmada water supply project becomes operational from 2018. At present, AKVN is working on issuing tenders for the project.

“The Narmada project has faced avoidable delays and should now be completed expeditiously,” Pithampur industry association president Gautam Kothari said.

DEWAS INDUSTRIAL AREA

Dewas, located about 35 km from Indore, is home to many multinational companies. However, the pace of industrialisation here has slowed down due to inadequate infrastructure and shortage of land.

“The infrastructure needs to be improved. We need a one-time major investment by the government, but the problem is that nobody is focussing on Dewas,” Dewas Industries Association president Ashok Khandelia said.

While there is uninterrupted power supply, the industry grapples with acute water shortage during summer. The first BOT water supply project in India wherein water from Narmada River at Nemawar was ferried from a distance of about 90 km, has been plagued by technical glitches and the industry is now looking forward to a new project under which water will be supplied from Narmada-Shipra link, which is only 8 km from Dewas.

Scarcity of developed industrial land remains a major problem for Dewas. “Many potential investors had to be turned back due to lack of land in the area,” says Khandelia who estimates the loss of investment at thousands of crores in recent years. Faced with scarcity of land, the state has developed a new industrial area at Sirsoda, about 21 km from Dewas, but the response has been poor.

MAKSI INDUSTRIAL AREA

Maksi in Shajapur district, some 90 km from Indore, is another industrial area in the region that has failed to live up to its potential due to poor infrastructure. As per the industrial association, many units have shut down over the years and many plots are lying vacant. The region lacks proper road and piped water supply and even the ground water level has dipped alarmingly.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE EXHIBITION IN OCTOBER

The government will hold a three-day global trade exhibition featuring domestic and international participants from October 21-23 concurrently with the global investors summit (GIS) in October.

“The exhibition aims to offer national and international participants a platform to showcase and demonstrate their capabilities in design, engineering, equipment and supplies and support services for large projects. The exhibition will be a forum to promote the initiative of ‘Make in Madhya Pradesh’ and co-promote the national initiative of ‘Make in India,” an industry department official said.

The GIS exhibitions in the past have attracted a diverse mix of participants and audience and have been a networking platform of government officials, entrepreneurs, professionals and academia. The focus of the GIS 2016 will be on identifying new geographies for doing business.

The focus sectors are agribusiness and food processing, automobile and engineering, defence, IT, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, textile, tourism, urban development.