With availability of unlimited and uninterrupted power supply, The Himachal Pradesh Government is looking at turning the hill state into an ideal place for setting up large industries. Efforts are on to make it happen, says R D Dhiman, Principal Secretary, Industries, in conversation with Priya Yadav of Elets News Network (ENN)
Himachal Pradesh has introduced a string of measures to attract investors in the State. How are things being done differently now?
We have aggressively identified the problem areas that the industry was facing and have brought about procedural changes to assist the industry and provide an easy access to the State. One of the main initiatives is that earlier an entrepreneur had to buy or take land on lease and develop it entirely by himself. Th is was a cumbersome job as it involved several clearances and permissions from various government agencies. Now, we have identified clusters of land and are developing them first – providing all facilities like sewerage, laying power lines, developing roads, etc. and then offering it to the entrepreneur. This has made things far easier for entrepreneurs and is giving good results.
What are the incentives industry can expect in Himachal Pradesh that are not there in other states?
Being a hill State with large reserves of water, Himachal Pradesh has several hydel power plants which afford an unlimited power supply that is quite cheap as compared to other states. Th e rates of power in Himachal Pradesh are 20 to 30 percent lower than bordering states and this will act as a fillip to industry in the State.
As such it is an ideal place for power intensive industry that requires uninterrupted power and has high consumption. We are in the process of setting up state-of-the-art industrial towns in Kangra and Solan districts for which Rs. 120 crore each has already been allocated.
How is the response of the various investor summits that the state has been organising?
We have held several investor summits, the last was held in October. Several top companies, including Walmart, Tata Group and Microtek International proposed investments worth Rs. 10,000 crore in Himachal Pradesh. The meet saw more than 1400 investors participating in it and several proposals discussed for setting up industrial units to manufacture products in Himachal Pradesh. Proposals discussed including those belonging to sectors like retail, housing, defence, solar energy and healthcare.
What are the other incentives being offered to the industry?
We have offered attractive incentives, concessions and facilities to attract investments in HP. Th e industrial and certain tourism units are entitled to 15 percent investment subsidy on their plant and machinery. Industrial units are also getting 75 percent freight subsidy for transportation.
What measures are being taken for ease of doing business in the State?
Various government departments are coordinating to ensure high degree of ease of doing business in the State. We have set up one of the most efficient and hassle-free systems for approvals.
We have started online and time bound clearance of applications. Rules have been simplified and for industry that falls in the environment-friendly category, the rule to get clearance from Pollution Control Board has been done away with. Th is has ensured that needless wastage of time can be checked and an environment created that is friendly to the entrepreneur.