Industrialists in Bihar want the "conducive atmosphere" created in the past 10 years to continue and do not want a return to the pre-2005 situation full of "hopelessness and frustration".
They feel that though there have not been big-ticket investments in the state in the past 10 years, at least "some interest has been generated" during this period and this momentum needs to be carried forward, or else everything will be "back to square one".
O.P. Shah, president of Bihar Chambers of Commerce and Industries, said that some companies like Hero Cycles, Lord Karan Bilimoria's firm, Britannia, etc., set up their units in the state in the past few years. "This was indicative of the comparatively better atmosphere for industries. But that is not sufficient. Bihar needs big-ticket investments. Development, development and development has to be the state's agenda. We cannot afford to return from here. So the incumbent government has to be pro-development," said Shah.
He said many investors are planning to set up their units and waiting for the right moment. "The State Investment Promotion Board has received several proposals from investors in Delhi and UP to set up meat processing plants in Araria, Purnia, Kishanganj areas, each with an estimated investment of Rs 50-100 crore. Now, all these can materialise only when there is a conducive political atmosphere in the state," Shah added.
Arun Agarwal, president of Bihar Industries Association, said it is a matter of relief that political parties are talking about economic development. "The BJP announced a package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore. Following this, the JDU-RJD combine also announced a package. This shows the political parties' seriousness about economic development. We are hopeful that development will be the agenda for the next government," he said. BIA has over 600 manufacturing units all over the state, affiliated to it.
Agarwal said Bihar is lagging in terms of economic development and capital investment is not sufficient, adding that BIA has written to the Finance Commission that the state be given an extra Rs 1 lakh crore per annum for five years.