BANGALORE: Chief minister Siddaramaiah shot down a proposed overseas trip of industries department officers and ordered them to tour the state instead to understand its requirement for industrial growth.
During informal meeting with officials on Tuesday, he also reportedly told them to focus on simplifying approvals for the projects.
The CM, who holds the large and medium industries portfolio, didn’t approve a junket of five top-ranking commerce and industries officials, including some from the Karnataka Udyog Mitra (KUM). They were to participate in the ongoing Paris Air Show.
Siddaramaiah, who was to chair the first State High Level Clearance Committee (SHLCC), suddenly cancelled it on Tuesday for reasons best known to him. He is said to have asked for details of availability of dryland suitable for setting up industries.
The cancellation left hundreds of executives representing companies high and dry. They returned without getting an opportunity to present their case. “As many as 131 subjects — new, old and deferred by the previous chief minister — approximately worth Rs 32,000 crore were listed for discussion and clearance,” sources in the industries department told TOI.
Company representatives are invited to SHLCC meetings to present their case of proposals cleared by the screening committee comprising industry department officials. Sources said Siddaramaiah was particular about land audit and implementation of projects signed in the past five years. According to the CM, the MoUs signed have not come into effect.
A senior official said the gestation period of mega projects is more than three years. “Once an MoU is signed, the project takes a few years to put the foundation at least. The state government clears the proposal, but it takes a long time to get approvals from central departments and the Central Pollution Control Board,” he said.
The CM also sternly directed officials not to clear fertile land in screening committee and asked the department to give a report how many acres of fertile land were given for industrial purpose in the past five years.
* We fully agree with the CM that agricultural land cannot be given for industrial development. Industry wants dryland, not wetland. The previous government informed us that of the total land available in Karnataka, only 1% was being used by industry. As part of the pre-budget meeting with the CM this Saturday, FKwill make a presentation on land requirement for micro, small, and medium enterprises.
K Shiva Shanmugam | president, FKCCI
* We welcome the CM’s statement – we don’t want agriculturalists and farmers to suffer. But the CM must give the industry a roadmap on how we’re going to get land which has sufficient infrastructure. In order to grow, industry requires land.