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Report outlines plan to boost Himachal industry

Improving the road network can greatly boost industry in Himachal Pradesh, which has great potential in biotechnology, says a report.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2005 20:10 IST

Improving the road network can greatly boost industry in Himachal Pradesh, which has great potential in the biotechnology and hydel power sectors, says accounting and consultancy major Ernst & Young.

"Himachal is completely untouched by the ambitious Rs.10 billion golden quadrilateral and corridors plan. So the state must ask for its share from the central government and develop its roads which are perhaps the only source of communication here," said Kuldeep Singh, a top executive of Ernst & Young.

Speaking here late Monday at the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) centenary partnership summit, he suggested several reforms to overcome the challenges industry is facing in the state.

"Himachal needs to take a hard look at the Madhya Pradesh model where a successful tie-up is yielding results to improve the road network."

"It is also untouched by the proposed building of 25 non-metro airports. The government can request the centre to include at least one of these airports in the state," he said.

The hill state currently has only three airports where small 20-seater passenger aircraft can land.

Apart from two narrow gauge rail tracks there is no railway network in the state and roads are virtually the only means of linking up with the industrial zones of the state.

Ernst & Young has advised the state government to attract private investment for building industrial parks and sewerage disposal facilities.

Talking about the tremendous scope of biotechnology as there is an abundance of medicinal plants in the hilly terrain, Singh said: "For biotechnology to develop, a series of cold chains are needed apart from overcoming transportation constraints. (This is) besides improving higher learning institutes so that industry is able to get top trained professionals."

Stressing the importance of better accessibility, the plan says it will automatically boost tourism across the state.

"In this aspect, Himachal could learn a lot from Nepal where air-taxi service is a big hit despite being expensive. High spending tourists could avail these air trips to explore remote scenic spots and in turn develop the rural economy of the hills," said Singh.

Ernst & Young feels the biggest deterrent for the investor in exploring the huge hydel potential of the state is non-availability of detailed project reports (DPRs).

"Again the Nepalese model is worth adopting as the Himalayan kingdom has prepared DPRs in the hydel sector with the help of private participation," Singh said.

"Consultants in Nepal invest half the money and prepare the DPRs and later market the reports to attract investors," he explained.

Himachal has a quarter of the country's potential for hydel power, but investors often complain of lack of DPRs.

First Published: Sep 28, 2005 20:10 IST