Assocham advice to govt: Focus on small, not big industries

Industry chamber Assocham on Tuesday said West Bengal government should give an impetus to developing industrial parks, basically for small and medium industries, considering Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's stand on no involvement of the government in acquiring land for setting up of big industries in the state.

Assocham vice-president Sunil Kanoria said: "Land is a problem here because most of it is fertile and the government has made its stand (against any role in arranging land for industries) known. It is not easy to set up heavy industries here. The government knows its strengths and weaknesses. What they should do is develop a mechanism by which it can set up industrial parks where SMEs can be developed. The same mechanism can be used for acquiring larger tracts of land.''

Kanoria said, "We have suggested that industrial estates be set up to house small and medium units and the Centre should grant exemption of minimum alternate tax and dividend distribution tax to the facilities located within."

The chamber said that the West Bengal government could also extend tax incentives which might include interest subsidy and drawback on electricity duty.

It also recommended a five-point strategy to facilitate industrial growth in the state, which included expeditious environmental clearance through a single window concept and within a defined time frame, time bound facilitation of conversion and mutation of land through a nominated government agency, arrangement for utilities like water, power near the site, participation of public-private partnership and conversion of non-fertile land on a fast track basis.

DS Rawat, secretary general of the chamber, however, was blunt and said that the government had no other option but to acquire land. "Without land acquisition no industrialisation of the state is possible,'' he said.

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