HT Chandigarh Readers’ Take: Promote city as a great business destination
For an improved business environment the administration needs to eliminate red-tapism, allow conversion of industrial plots from leasehold to freehold, streamline the online single window system for permissions and clearances and promote the city as a business destination by organising trade fairs and exhibitions, say readersUpdated: Sep 18, 2020, 22:27 IST
Promote Chandigarh as a business destination
I believe that Chandigarh has everything that a business hub requires, but it needs to be promoted in the right way. In the business world it is said that no matter how good your product or service you make, unless and until your customers are not aware of it, it will not sell. So our city authorities need to consistently promote the best features of the city. This could include marketing the UT’s strategic location among neighbouring states, established accessibility of railways, road transport and international airport. The cleanliness and standards of basic infrastructure should also be highlighted. Regular B2B trade events should be done in the city to promote business infrastructure and opportunities and for networking.
Time for businesses to gear up too
The administration should set up cells to guide and consult with local businesses/industries about Inter-state/international business options. Exhibitions and trade-fairs should be organised regularly. Hard work and success are two sides of the same coin. Businesses too should gear up in the post pandemic scenario to expand, push for exports and create more jobs.
Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali
Urgently formulate of business-friendly action plans
The city needs a full time administrator for taking quick decisions on policies to create an environment conducive to business/industry with a liberal policy to attract FDI/ investors and also improve employment rates. Collector rates of property should be fixed on the basis of sanctioned covered area of plot and building by-laws and lease conversion rates fixed after factoring in the needs of industries. Pending cases involving violations or misuse of building by-laws should be decided quickly to enable industries to work unfettered and allow others to set up business here. The need of the hour is to formulate action plans that are business-friendly with the involvement of traders and industrialists.
Don’t expect changes in bureaucratic set-up
Chandigarh’s poor ranking in ease of doing business is shameful. The problem is that this is a bureaucratic set-up and bureaucrats come for a fixed tenure. No one takes the pains to compete with other states/UTs. To improve rankings the administration needs to consult all stakeholders to frame a new industrial policy resolving issues related to land, labour, investment, banking, taxation, and marketing to help industries.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh.
Convert land to freehold
Land rates need to be cheaper to encourage industries to flourish. Single window systems should be streamlined to provide all possible help to businesspersons. Lack of basic and civic amenities is also a hurdle. Demand of industrialists to convert leasehold land to freehold should be looked into on priority basis. An improved business environment will help generate employment and stop brain drain.
Amanpreet Kaur Bains, Kurali
Revive post of chief commissioner
Affairs of the union territory (UT) are handled by the bureaucracy, a majority of them on deputation from Punjab and Haryana. Even the administrator of Chandigarh is the governor Punjab. Their main interests lie with their parent states, so any radical changes in the business environment cannot be expected. That said, the post of chief commissioner of Chandigarh should be revived with a bureaucrat cadre created especially for Chandigarh as officials will then keep the long-term interests of the city in mind.
AK Sharma, Chandigarh
Set up a body with city representatives
Blame for all the ills of the city should be pinned on the political structure of our city. It has no representation. Our MP has to follow the party whip and we have no MLAs. The bureaucrats report to the home minister, who to be fair has a lot on his plate to deal with now instead of discussing the civic issues of Chandigarh. The UT needs a legislative body where representatives take decisions, not bureaucrats. Pondicherry with a population of only 2.5 lakh has its own governing body. Bureaucrats are here on fixed tenures, so there are no incentives for those who perform well. The IT Park still remains underutilised because companies need incentives to set up their base here. The environment isn’t good for business because of red tape.
City not planned for industries
When the city was planned there was no provision to attract big industries. Moreover, it would have affected the very character of the city, especially the green cover, the world-class infrastructure for education, health, art and sculpture. It is advisable to consult local industrialists and seek their suggestions to attract investors. The two Industrial Areas lack basic facilities and discourage investors, whose demands include conversion of industrial plots to freehold basis, easy availability of land, easy environment clearances, 24-hour power and water, relief from tax/duties, and single window facility to get approvals/guidelines.
Usha Verma, Chandigarh
Discuss benefits offered by Punjab, Haryana
After the trifurcation of Punjab states on November 1966, Punjab and Haryana developed their own Industrial Area at Panchkula , Mohali , Derabassi, Baddi, Parwanoo etc, where many units were set up or moved because of the attractive benefits on offer and less government interference. Meanwhile, UT’s second phase along with Industrial Area Phase 2 developed in the ’80s. Entrepreneurs did not get any benefits compared to neighbouring states and instead faced strict enforcement of building by-laws. Meanwhile, the neighbouring states allowed multistoried construction and use of part of building as residence. Demands for leasehold to freehold, additional FAR and permissions to carry out need based internal changes are pending. I suggest the matter be looked into. Open darbar should be held to look into problems of entrepreneurs and benefits and advantages offered by neighbouring states be debated.
Joginder Singh Bhogal, Chandigarh
No ‘will’ to improve things
Businesses and industries in the Smart City of Chandigarh need many changes in existing rules which our bureaucrats don’t permit due to reasons best known to them. Government jobs are limited - almost equal to nil. Many sectors are being privatised by our present government. The need of the hour is to create a conducive business environment for which our administration must offer some concessions to all players. This in turn will increase the earnings of the administration as well. Rules should be easy to follow and there should be no red-tapism, which slows down business and stresses out investors.
Gurpreet S Malhotra, Kansal
Develop city as a medical hub
Chandigarh is in imminent danger of losing its status of a planned, modern city. Given the pandemic and its outcome, it should be developed as a medical hub. The amalgamation policy announced recently can give a big boost to the city’s dwindling health facilities and yet save every inch of precious land for future industrial growth. Nursing homes in the city are governed as per residential bye-laws. Unless their amalgamation is facilitated with the adjoining residence on priority, even existing nursing homes may close and shift to neighbouring cities. About 28 nursing homes were regularised in 1999, half have closed down. Similar number should be allowed to function. In one step, amalgamation will boost health services for Chandigarh residents, increase the revenue from health industry, and save the city’s limited land for other industrial activities.
Dr Ramneek Bedi, Chandigarh
Administration has to act now
Those at the helm in the administration ought to accept the gospel truth that business is no charity and those in business are here for profits. Onus of promoting business lies with the administration as it has to boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for better employment, drive development and generate revenues/income for the government/civic administration to shape ease of living. Closing down business establishments to curb the spread of coronavirus is akin to stopping factories and vehicles to check industrial and road accidents. Healthy business orientation breeds progress and prosperity and intermittent jerks paralyse business. Implementation of business-friendly Chandigarh Industrial Policy of 2015 is overdue.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Develop industrial zones
Chandigarh was good place for services and businesses, but with the development of the adjoining cites, some industries and services moved there because of low rental costs and developed business market. The Chandigarh administration should develop existing properties or encourage other private players to help develop industrial zones.
Avinash Goyal, Chandigarh
Focus on city’s design, not industries
When Chandigarh was planned by Le Corbusier it was not meant to be an industrial town and the focus was on its design. However, business and industry both are the soul of a city, without which a body cannot survive. Chandigarh’s industrial areas need to be converted to freehold properties, with tax relief for businesses running at a loss. Unnecessary harassment of industrialists by way of red-tapism should stop.
Dr Devinder Garg, Chandigarh
More incentives for new businesses
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected industries, but quick action will bring them back on track. As regards ease of setting up small scale industrial units in Chandigarh, people are not too keen to invest here because they don’t get any incentives. Even if a suitable plot somehow is available to start with, clearances and approvals take time. This has to change
SC Luthra, Chandigarh
City requires better connectivity
Industries require incentives such as reduction in GST, subsidised power supply, reduced commercial property tax and increased FSI to get more space by going vertical as Chandigarh has limited space. Better connectivity to national and international destinations by increased number of flights is a must. Single window clearance, and liberal loans in view of Covid -19 epidemic should be accorded top priority.
Col TBS Bedi
Rigid rules hinder growth
Rules related to commercial properties in Chandigarh are too rigid as compared to other states. Non-conversion of leasehold industrial plots to freehold is the biggest hindrance in the development of old established industries and setting up of new ones. Collector rates are high as compared to Mohali and Panchkula. FAR is also less as compared to Mohali. Online single window system should be launched by the administration. There should be a redressal forum to listen to their grievances. More land should be allotted for new establishments. Fresh guidelines regarding pollution control, disposal of waste material, safety of workers, and fire safety norms should be issued.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
Don’t have to make it a business hub
Chandigarh is business-friendly, but not for industrial development, and it should not be. It was never visualised like that. Why does a clean and green city require industry and ease of doing business? Only for polluting the environment through smoke emitting industrial establishments? It needs to be noted that the UT was basically established as a city-state and an administrative headquarter, not a business hub. The city does not require any business reform action plan. Its financial needs are taken care of by the Central government through grants-in-aid. There is no need to change the age-old rules and regulations, else the ‘clean and green’ character of the city will be destroyed. Let Chandigarh survive with its Anglo-French model of construction and operation.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
READER OF THE WEEK
Simplify licencing, tax system
The local government should incorporate a licensing and tax system which is simple, comprehensible and can be easily complied with. Training and network programmes are imperative to get businesses up and running. The UT administration should create a culture of opportunity for all by creating low cost workspaces or incubators for innovation, eliminating red tape and proactively engaging small businesses for fostering economic vitality by attracting inward investment and creating new jobs. A committee to represent small business owners must be developed to voice demands and serve as a counsel to the administrators, municipal corporations and other local leaders on issues that count. Investor facilitation centres , a single window system, a one-stop centralised web portal and “Jump teams” must be initiated to provide streamlined and coordinated support to small businesses to understand the rules of the road.
Komal Singh, Chandigarh
READER OF THE WEEK