Shimla: Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said that even though the previous government had failed to create a good investment climate in the state, his government would try and create vital infrastructure and improve the industrial climate for attracting investments and generating employment.
He held the previous Virbhadra government responsible for not drawing maximum benefit from the opportunity provided by the industrial package announced by the Vajpayee government in 2003.
He said the previous government by not heeding to the problems faced by the entrepreneurs had led to unplanned industrial growth which was proving a big hindrance to improve the investment climate in the state.
To improve the industrial climate, Dhumal said that his government had got the Punjab government to agree for construction of the Chandigarh-Baddi highway to improve movement of people and goods. In principal it has also been agreed to extend the Mohali express highway to Baddi, said Dhumal. The government has also been given an assurance about four laning of the Pinjore-Baddi highway to remove traffic congestion in the industrial areas, he added.
In reply to the cut motions on the budget demand for industry, Dhumal disclosed that against the investment approvals for projects worth Rs 29,000 crore, only Rs 3,374 crore worth of investments had taken place in the state over last five years.
This amount of investment was lower than what Uttrakhand and Jammu & Kashmir had been able to attract under an industrial package that was announced simultaneously for the three states, he disclosed.
However, he lamented that the industrial package had just two more years to ago and it would be hard to make up for the time loss that has occurred. Planning, financing, executing and getting a unit into production within two years is a stiff target for any industry large industry, he said.
The chief minister expressed concern that the industrial units that had come up were not employing the youth from the state. The government would get a survey conducted to see how many state residents have been engaged by the new industrial units, he said.
Along with imposing a conditionality of employing 70 percent Himachalis, a simultaneous condition about creating residential facilities for workers should have been made compulsory for all upcoming units. The government plans to set up labour hostels in the industrial belt of Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh, said Dhumal.
Satisfied with the chief ministers reply congress legislators members Kuldeep Singh Pathania, Mukesh Agnihotri and Harshwardhan Chauhan later withdrew the cut motion that they had earlier moved.