Conceding to the long-pending demand of investors, chief minister Virbhadra Singh has said the state government has decided to make the hill state an ideal investment destination by relaxing norms under Section 118 to set up industries and provide business-friendly environment to entrepreneurs.
Under Section 118 of the HP Land Reforms and Tenancy Act, a non-agriculturist Himachali or a non-Himachali cannot purchase land in the state without prior permission of the government.
Presiding over an interaction meet with the industries association of the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN) industrial belt late on Thursday evening, Virbhadra said the state government was committed to simplify the procedure for clearances under Section 118 for purchase of land for setting up industries besides offering various other incentives to the investors. He added that the procedure for selling and transferring old units would also be simplified.
The chief minister appealed to industrialists to implement the government's order of providing at least 70% jobs to Himachali domiciles, failing which stern legal action would be initiated against the managements of the erring units.
"I will not listen to the excuses of the industrialists over educational and technical qualification of the youth as the people of the state are highly qualified as evident from the different surveys conducted by national agencies and the state has a large number of engineers and ITI-trained hands," Singh said.
He added that the proposal for connecting Baddi-Barotiwala with a rail link was in final stage as the survey for Kalka to Baddi via Chandimandir link has been completed.
On the second day of his visit to Solan district on Friday, Virbhadra Singh inaugurated and performed foundation stone laying ceremonies of projects worth `24 crore. The CM laid foundation stone for augmentation of multi-purpose Agriculture Produce Marketing Complex at Parwanoo and also laid foundation stone of augmentation of a drinking water supply scheme. Virbhadra also inaugurated a car parking at Parwanoo constructed at a cost of `48 lakh and will have parking facility for 70 small vehicles, besides laying foundation stone of a community hall at Parwanoo.
The chief minister also flagged off a Mudrika bus for industrial area around Parwanoo and two buses from Parwanoo to Bhojnagar. He also laid the foundation stone of science block at Government Senior Secondary School, Bhojnagar, and inaugurated community health centre building at Dharampur.
Earlier, addressing a public meeting at Parwanoo the CM announced that Tipra village would be excluded from the list of town and country planning department and would be connected by a link road from Parwanoo.
"I have received a complaint that water rates charged from residents in Parwanoo were on the higher side. I assure that residents of the town will now get water on prevailing rates of the irrigation and public health department," the chief minister said.
Stating that Parwanoo was a gateway to the state, he promised to develop it as a big commercial centre in times to come and taking appropriate steps to give it a facelift.
Besides others, many of Virbhadra Singh's cabinet colleagues were also present on the occasion.