First came a six-month deadline, then repeated reminders, now the ultimatum.
The state government's message to investors who have not gone ahead with their proposed projects despite getting approval from the State Investment Promotion Board (SIPB) is loud and clear: make investments fast or you are welcome to move out.
After repeatedly requesting the investors to contact the state government and appraise it about the current status of their respective projects, the industries department has identified at least 33 proposals to be "de-listed" from the list of the SIPB-approved proposals and eventually cancelled.
"The SIPB started giving approvals to the proposals in 2006. It is true that the department had given a time frame of six months to the investors whose projects have been approved to show their development," a department official said.
"In 2006, altogether 37 proposals were approved by the SIPB. Of these, the 33 proposals were never heard of in the last seven years. The department has records of other proposals till date and has an idea about their status. The department had also tried to contact the investors of these 33 proposals. But the attempts were futile," the official added.
The sources added that the investors of the de-listed proposals would get a "last chance" to take up their cause either with the SIPB or the department and issue a concrete explanation, citing reasons for not investing in the state. The investors would also have to make it clear whether the department should trust them further or not.
"It has been stated several times that the total investment in the state is to the tune of nothing less than Rs 3 lakh crore on papers. But the fact is that more than 60 per cent of the proposals are either in a very nascent stage or are about to start," an official told The Telegraph on condition of anonymity.
"The government had earlier given the investors six months to get back with their respective status reports. Late last year, the department had floated an e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and asked all the investors, whose projects had been approved by the board, to contact the government and give a real-time status of their projects. There were quite a few investors who turned up, but there were many too who didn't. The state needs some real-time investments. It is important that some strict steps need to be taken to ensure the same," the official added.
"Some harsh steps have to be taken. The state government always wants investments. But the investors cannot sit on their approved proposals for years. The department has always stated that they are ever ready to help the investors in every possible way. The actual investments in the state are nothing beyond Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,300 crore," another official said.
Among the proposals that have been omitted are at least two medical colleges and a minority college in Bettiah and Patna, respectively, two super-speciality hospitals in Hajipur and Patna, world-class hotels in Patna, Rajgir and Bodhgaya, a private industrial park in Bihta, a mega tourist city in the LCT Ghat area of Patna. According to the list, five to six of the investors are based in Patna. The rest are from Tamil Nadu, New Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai and Andhra Pradesh.
According to a letter issued by Shailesh Thakur, director, industries, a proposal of an investor from Tamil Nadu to set up a plant to make ethanol from sugarcane has been rejected because the Centre has not yet approved the policy on such manufacturing.