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Proposals Rs 50,000 cr, investment Rs 414.7 cr

CONTRARY TO Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan?s and his predecessor Babulal Gaur?s repeated claim about the government having received investment proposals worth Rs 50,000 crore, the BJP-ruled State in two years has been able to attract a measly Rs 414.70 crore.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2006 12:42 IST
Manish Dixit
Manish Dixit

CONTRARY TO Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s and his predecessor Babulal Gaur’s repeated claim about the government having received investment proposals worth Rs 50,000 crore, the BJP-ruled State in two years has been able to attract a measly Rs 414.70 crore.

This information has been gleaned from the Madhya Pradesh State Industries Development Corporation (MPSIDC). Another revelation is that over 70 per cent of Rs 50,000 crore proposals are in power and road sectors.

Indore has emerged as the preferred investment destination with 50 per cent of the total investments made in the past two years in Indore.

While Rs 201.44 crore have been invested in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Rs 43.80 crore pumped into the Industrial Area, Pithampur and an investment of Rs 2.79 crore made at Readymade Garment Complex of Indore.

Senior officers of the department claimed that investment proposals of Rs 17,000 crore, including that of the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) are in final stages. Some investment proposals like that of the BPCL have been figuring in proposal lists of successive governments for the past 15 years.

To be fair to Chouhan, his predecessors Babulal Gaur and Digvijay Singh also had this penchant for making astoundingly tall claims on investment proposals.

Industry Department sources admit that Chouhan’s claim is an utter exaggeration. But, at the same time, they also point out that it is common among chief ministers across political spectrum

in India to assume investment inquiries from industrialists or companies as investment proposals. Most of these enquiries are of very preliminary nature, which seldom transform into actual investments. Nevertheless, chief ministers have little compunction in passing them off as investment proposals.

This paradigm shift in the thinking was brought about by mainly the ousted Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandra Babu Naidu and still persists despite the Cyber Naidu’s ignominious drubbing in the assembly polls.

For example, the sources added, during the previous Congress regime, the then chief minister Digvijay Singh would often claim of Rs 22,000 crore investments in private power agreements (PPA) to generate 7000-mega watt power. Barring a couple, none of those promised power projects materialised.

Before Digvijay Singh, the era of liberalisation had not dawned. Chief ministers were not compelled to showcase their states as potential heaven for investments. In those days, irrigation and poverty alleviation schemes used to be seen as signs of progress.

Industries were linked to development of backward areas. Till the eighties, the State’s industrial policies used to be guided by socialist ideology, derogatorily remembered as licence -permit raj.

In the eighties the then chief minister Arjun Singh formulated an industrial policy, which had more thrust on addressing backwardness than wooing investment. Even then it managed to woo a sizable investment, specially in Pithampur and Mandideep. Subsequent governments, however, failed to maintain the pace of industrial growth.

During the Arjun Singh regime, under the Audoygik Vikas Nigam, five industrial centres were set up in Maneri (Mandla) near Jabalpur, Malanpur (Bhind) near Gwalior, Pithampur (Dhar) near Indore, Mandideep (Raisen) near Bhopal and Urla (Mahasamund) near Raipur. The centres were purposely chosen due to their being in backward districts and proximity to big towns.

First Published: Feb 09, 2006 12:42 IST