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Projects cleared by IPB yet to match the proposed numbers

With the Investment Promotion Board (IPB) approving projects worth nearly Rs 8974.66 crore with a potential of generating 19,631 jobs, the scenario for business in the State looks rather rosy. Out of the 126 projects which were cleared, 32 are Goa-based companies and about 53 are for Goa-based Goans. About a dozen projects and proposals were dropped. On the whole, about 60 per cent of all the projects cleared, belonged to Goans or to Goa-based companies.
Member of IPB, Nitin Kunkolienker said that, “IPB ensured that known and reliable business houses and industries of Goa are benefitted. Primarily because their verification was easier and their track record is known.”Mr Kunkoleinker explained that earlier, Goans were selling their land outright to people coming from outside Goa to purchase ‘cheaper’ land. IPB approached such persons selling land by encouraging them to lease their land to those who were interested in developing eco-tourism which would help generate business with a assurance of environment protection too.
Mr Kunkoleinker believes that to develop and make Goans more self dependent with their land, there is a need for a Tourism Promotion Board, which shall look after the development of eco-tourism, mentor the Goans who are keen in this area and have land to spare for developing eco-tourism projects. The Board can also help create bonhomie among various stakeholders who need a larger umbrella to work under.
The bigger question is whether the government of Goa is prepared for this. If they are they have various wings under them, which can help replace the loss of employment due to closure of mining in Goa. At the same time it will help develop the hinterland and rural areas of the State.The president of the Verna Industrialist Association (VIA), Damodar Kochkar said, “Investment Promotion Board has been doing their job fairly well but the problem they faced was that the various departments of the State government were not aligned by their recommendation. The inter-department relationship within the government needs to improve to help the people that are willing to invest money in the State.”
Blaise Costabir, a first generation entrepreneur and managing director at GMI Zarhak Moulders Pvt Ltd said that, “The Industrial Promotion Board became the island of refuge for every and any project that could not get cleared under various laws designed to protect Goa and its environment. Hotels were added to the definition of industry but not a single hotelier was on the IPB drafting committee.”According to Mr Costabir, maximum projects are for hotels were cleared and that too in previously defined eco-sensitive zones. “When deciding that these projects had to be passed, did the IPB consider the economic feasibility of unleashing so many hotels at one time? Did the government consult the hotels association and get feedback that there is a huge shortage of rooms and there is a demand for more rooms in different categories or areas. Based on this, did the IPB map the projects to the locations mentioned and then allowed the same?”asked Mr Costabir.
The chairman of the Logistics Committee of the Goa Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Chandrakant Gawas told Herald that, “We appreciate the intention of the government to have laid emphasis on getting investments into the State with an aim to create employment for the local youth. The thrust on getting non-polluting industries into the State is another befitting initiative in the IP – 2014”.
He added that what Goa requires is to have logistics hubs, Verna Container Freight Station, ports and waterways, private terminals/jetties, road network, railways, other initiatives, Micro Industrial Zones –MIZ, water management, water, etc.“The State of Goa needs an immediate image changeover to make it more appealing and attractive as an investment destination. Focus on future requirements and trends of the Industry including the new emerging sectors. The future economic scenario in respect of taxation, wherein GST is going to be introduced in the country and the impact thereupon on the supply chain,” added Mr Gawas. [H]

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