As part of its push towards industrialisation, Bihar is set to come up with its own leather and textile policy and plans to develop Kishanganj as a hub of leather industry.
Leather from Panjipada in Kishanganj is supplied across the country and exported as well.
Establishment of industries and employment generation were key promises made by parties during assembly elections held in 2020.
The State Investment Promotion Board (SIPB) has given stage 1 clearance to a total 200 units, involving a total investment of ₹6,197 crore, in the state since the current government was formed. Of these, 98 units involving investment of ₹4616.42 crore (74% of the total) are from food processing sector.
The state’s industry department has already come out of its own ethanol and oxygen production policy.
Bihar’s industry minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain is sure the state will turn a corner sooner than later. “Another 200 units with an investment potential of over ₹3,000 crore will be taken up in the next meeting of SIPB,” he said.
On the planned leather hub in KIshanganj, Hussain said, “From Kishanganj, the best leather goes to the country and abroad. Work is going on at a brisk pace towards setting up a hub for leather processing units, which will pose a challenge to leather goods from neighbouring Bangladesh,” he said.
Barring four districts of Arwal, Lakhisarai, Sheikhpura and Sheohar, all the remaining 34 districts of the state have got investment proposals. Muzaffarpur, where a food park is coming up, has got investment proposals of ₹1,088 crore for 18 units. “The food park, which was sanctioned on 78 acres of land, has been extended by additional 48 acres by the government of Bihar,” said Hussain. “Haldiram Bhujiawala has submitted proposal to become anchor investor in the park which has already been given Stage-1 clearance by SIPB,” said the minister.
Industry department sources said that besides Haldiram, several major national players have expressed interest to set up their units within the park.
The capital city, Patna, has got stage 1 SIPB clearance for 49 units with a proposed investment of ₹818 crore, while the industrial town of Begusarai has got a proposal of ₹1,053 crore for nine units, of which two units are of ethanol worth ₹495 crore.
A total of 16 units of ethanol, with a proposed investment of ₹3,110 crore, have been cleared in the first phase. “Chief minister Nitish Kumar had first made a request for making ethanol directly from maize and sugarcane in 2007. We are happy the Centre had eventually given its nod,” said the minister.
Hussain said Bihar, which produces 12,000 crore litres of ethanol each year and is the fifth-largest ethanol-producing state in the country, was expected to produce 50,000 crore litres every year after proposals for 20 new ethanol units were realised. The minister said the state government will give 10 per cent subsidy for opening each unit.
The state government is also eyeing to use the services of migrants who had expertise in textile sector and ceramic field.