State pins hopes on three new industrial estates

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Old 16-Sep-2015
Post State pins hopes on three new industrial estates

Facing problem of land availability and high freight rates, Himachal is hoping that the creation of the three new industrial estates coupled with various concessions extended to investors will help accelerate the sluggish pace of industrialisation.
Considering that Punjab and Haryana have not fared too well in attracting investment, Himachal does not seem to be too unhappy at being placed at the 17th position in the World Bank report on ease of doing business. Despite having power at low rates, the locational disadvantage resulting in poor connectivity continues to be the biggest deterrents.
Three new industrial estates at Kandrori in Kangra, Pandoga in Una and Dahbota in Solan have been proposed which will ensure easy availability of land to industry. “Once the three industrial estates are ready we can readily provide land to industry,” said Rajinder Singh, Director, Industry. He added that procedures had been simplified along with better inter-departmental coordination.
He added that the state government has taken several steps like reduction of stamp duty, freezing power hike for five years and relaxation in floor area ratio (FAR) for built up structure to woo industry. He admitted that it might not be easy to make Himachal as attractive as it was at the time of the industrial package but investment worth Rs 3,361.18 crore has been made in 88 projects after the holding of the investors meet in Mumbai, Bangalore and Ahmadabad.
The pace of industrialization has slowed down with the expiry of the Special Industrial Package in March 2010 for the state which had central excise exemption and income tax holiday concessions. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh will be leading a high level delegation of officers from all the concerned departments at the next investors meet to be held at Delhi on October 5. Industry officials said they have set an agenda for simplifying procedures to attract big investment but a lot more needs to be done to not just attract greater investment but to even sustain the existing one. Considering the locational disadvantage and poor connectivity, the pace of industrialization is yet to pick up. To make matters worse, there are reports of industries having sister units in other states shifting production of value-based products, resulting in reduction in jobs.
The problem of very high freight rates, probably amongst the highest in the country, is another major dampener. Rail connectivity if very limited and entire transportation has to be done through land transport resulting in high production cost. The absence of any major raw material in the state is a drawback for industry.

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