With Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Manohar Parrikar in the saddle, industrialists and business persons in Goa have heaved a big sigh of relief. During the Congress's five-year rule, led by chief minister Digambar Kamat, rampant corruption had forced many industries to postpone their expansion plans in the state.
"I have high expectations from Parrikar. In the last five years, there was no significant investment in the state by any industry with many industrialists investing in other states," said Mangirish Pai Raikar, chiarman of Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).
Raikar gave the example of how Wallace Pharma, a Goa-based pharmaceutical company which had expansion plans in Goa, decided to open another unit in Himachal Pradesh. "The sad part is that Wallace Pharma is owned by a Goan. But even he could not do business in this state. Even Hindustan Lever, which has a plant in Kundai, had acquired land in Colvale to set up a soap unit. However, they surrendered it and are going to set up the unit in Pantnagar, Uttarakhand. This is the story of the last five years as rampant corruption and red tape blocked significant industrial growth. Under Parrikar, we won't have to go through the same."
The reason why there has been no major industrial expansion in the state is due to the tight control of water, power and land by a few in the government. For instance, take power. While Goa has surplus power, industries found it extremely difficult to get proper electricity supply because a few ministers demanded bribe.
Raikar gave the example of EL Steel, a UK-based company that got power for one of its units in Goa after three years. "They tried for three years. For the last two-and-ahalf years, they used DG sets. It was only two months before the elections when our organisation stepped in, that they got power," he added.
Dilip Salgaoncar, chief managing director of Geno Pharmaceuticals, said that land belonging to Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) was being sold at more than the market price. "While the official price of land in GIDC is `300 to `400 per square metre, we are being forced to pay `3,000 to `4,000 per square metre above the official price. Which industry would set up units if such huge amounts are demanded as bribe?" he says.
So how does the BJP government change the picture?, "For one, Parrikar is a clean, honest and development-oriented person and knowing his nature, he will not allow such practices to continue. The important thing is that the government is stable and the BJP on its own has a majority," said Raikar.
The issue of power too will get sorted out. In his earlier tenure, Parrikar initiated innovative schemes to ensure that industries got more power at cheaper rates. For instance, industries and businesses who operated their units during non-peak hours were charged less tariffs.
Courtesy: Mail Today