If mere announcements could bring industry to Punjab,the state would have been ushering in another industrial revolution of sorts.
As the two-day trip of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal to Bangalore ended with announcements of Infosys and Biocon showing interest in investing in Punjab,the fate of similar announcements made not so long ago remains unknown.
In July this year,the Punjab government claimed that nine leading companies of the Tata group had promised to invest heavily in the state after working out details and economics of various shortlisted projects. This was announced after marathon discussions between Sukhbir and Tata Motors vice-chairman Ravi Kant.
The Tata companies had evinced interest in city-level services,BRTS projects,Ropar-Phagwara Expressway,Water City Ludhiana and other infrastructure projects worth Rs 500 crore; IT campus at Mohali,solar city complex,rooftop solar projects,power projects,housing projects,downtown at Mohali and Ludhiana renewable energy sector including biomass and mini hydels. Nothing,however,has come out of these talks till date,say sources in the industries department.
Last year,Videocon Mobile Services had announced that it would launch its long-term evolution high-speed wireless broadband service in Punjab at an investment of Rs 800. The industries department says the current status of the offer is not with them.
There have been other announcements which,sources say,the government has not followed up. Russia-based realty firm CMI Development had offered to invest in infrastructure and real estate in Punjab. Taiwan was keen to invest in food processing and IT sector in several joint ventures with the state government and officers will now be going to Taiwan for an investment summit to follow up on the offer.
Similarly,South Korea has expressed willingness to invest in a joint venture partnership but there has been no concrete offer so far.
Despite all the aggression shown by the deputy chief minister in wooing companies to invest in Punjab,the governments attitude remains lackadaisical. The states new industrial policy,released with much fanfare in the first week of June,is yet to be notified.
The new policy,described as aggressive,incentive-based policy that besides changing the paradigm of industrial development would facilitate the investment in the state,is yet to implemented.
The policy offered VAT and CST retention up to 80 per cent,electricity and stamp duty,property tax exemptions and several earn your incentive features. Till the policy is notified,new investors cannot take advantage of any of the exemptions given.