State industries minister Mukesh Agnihotri has attacked the central government for what he called ignoring Himachal Pradesh in the budget for fiscal 2016. "Residents of the state were expecting some major projects and schemes for development of tourism in the budget, but Himachal was entirely ignored," he said while presiding over the annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).
"Himachal is known as the 'apple state' but the central government decided to establish a horticulture institute in Amritsar rather than in the state", he lamented. He lauded CII for the its role in successfully organizing investors' meets as part of the 'Emerging Himachal' campaign in Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bangalore at which investment proposals worth about Rs 2,500 crore were received.
Agnihotri said the new industrial areas were being developed in Pandoga in Una district and Kandrori in Kangra district with an investment of Rs 219 crore.
"A technology center will be set up in Baddi at an estimated cost of about Rs 147 crore. In order to facilitate the entrepreneurs' approval for purchase of land for industrial units under Section-118 of the HP Tenancy & Land Reforms Act is being simplified and floor area ratios for industrial plants have been increased under the Town & Country Planning Act and Rules," he added.
The minister said Tahliwal was emerging as the state's first industrial area to have piped gas for industrial use. "The government plans to equip more industrial areas in the State with this facility," he added.
He said the state government had set up an industry advisory council to be headed by the chief minister to advise and monitor all the aspects of industrial growth in the state. "The state industries department along with other departments is working to provide an investor friendly portal where there would be only one web-enabled common application form for seeking all approvals and clearances under state acts and rules.
Meanwhile, Shreekant Somany, deputy chairman of CII's northern region and chairman & MD of Somany Ceramics Ltd, appreciated the government's efforts to promote the state as an ideal investment destination.
"The World Bank recently appreciated the state for balancing economic growth with social inclusion and had emerged as one of the states with the best human development outcomes in the country," he added.