Tribune News Service
Dharamsala, June 18
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and many senior bureaucrats of the state have recently concluded a foreign tour to attract investment in the state. However, the investors, who have already invested in the state, are alleging that the government should also pay heed to their demands and problems.
CS Kapoor, president of the Mehatpur Industrial Area Association, alleged that the industry that was already functioning in the state was facing problems. Some problems are so small but basic that the state government can redress them within a day. However, despite petitions at various levels their demands are falling on deaf ears.
Kapoor alleged that in many industrial areas, including Mehatpur in Una, and Baddi industrialists are facing the problem of double taxation. The industrial areas have come under urban local bodies. “Now industrials are being forced to give property tax as also charges to Industrial Area Development Authority (IADA) that is a wing of the industries department. We have requested the state government to levy just one tax on them but no action was being taken”, he said.
Baldev Singh, another industrialist, said the truck unions were charging exorbitant freight rates from industrialists. Despite charging exorbitantly, these unions are providing poor service. The industrial associations in the state have requested the state government to constitute an authority that should fix the freight rates justifiably. Besides, the operation of truck unions was against the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices (MRTP) Act and judgments of the Supreme Court. Despite all efforts of the industry, no government in the state has taken any action to stop the harassment that the industry in the state was facing at the hands of truck unions, he said.
Hoteliers, a majority of whom are investors from the state, are alleging poor infrastructure. Rakesh Kumar, an hotelier from upper Dharamsala, said that the infrastructure in the state was not enough for the existing tourism industry. A large numbers of investors, who have brought up hotels in Dharamsala area, have not been able to make them operational as the local municipal corporation has not given them completion certificates. There was shortage of water and getting permissions from various departments takes over a year, he alleged.
The hoteliers alleged that the Himachal being a power surplus state sells additional power to other states at rates ranging between Rs 2.5 and Rs 3 per unit. However, the industry and hotels set up in the state get power at rates starting from Rs 4.50 to Rs 7 per unit.
The small scale hydro power projects owners have their own problems. Most of them are not getting clearances from forest or local village bodies. An owner of small scale power project near Dharamsala, while speaking on the condition of anonymity, alleged that though the Himachal government invites the investors with great zeal, once the investor comes he is left at the mercy of local officials.
Double taxation, poor infrastructure... problems galore
- In many industrial areas, including in Una, and Baddi industrialists are facing the problem of double taxation
- Industrialists complain that truck unions are charging exorbitant freight rates but providing poor service
- Small scale hydropower projects owners are not getting clearances from forest or local village bodies
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