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CAG slams Himachal Pradesh for its failure to develop a biotechnoplogy park, despite grants

By Ians English

Shimla, April 4: Himachal Pradesh has failed to develop a biotechnology park in Solan district with the Centre's assistance in 12 years despite incurring an unfruitful expenditure of Rs 2.07 crore and axing 897 trees, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has said.

The park, yet to be established, was initially proposed to be commissioned by 2006-07.

File Photo of Comptroller and auditor general of India

The Central government had accorded approval for setting up the biotechnology park in March 2005 at a cost of Rs 38.66 crore under public-private-partnership mode, said the CAG report tabled in the assembly last week.

The Central government proposed to invest Rs 9 crore in the park, while the state committed to invest Rs 7.55 crore. The remaining amount was to be pooled in by the investor.

The project was to be implemented by 2006-07 and no funding from the Centre was to be released for the project beyond March 2007, the report said.

The Centre had released Rs 50 lakh as a token grant in March 2005 and the state government released Rs 2.21 crore during 2004-08.

However, the state department of industries could not involve any private partner for the proposed park that would have a biotechnology incubation centre and a biotechnology industrial cluster.

Initially, the biotechnology park was to be set up at Kotla Barog in Solan district but no investor came up for development of the project.

In February 2008, the project site was changed to Aduwal on the Nalagarh-Swarghat national highway.

According to the CAG, the department had released Rs 45.73 lakh in 2009 to a consultant for preparation of a feasibility report, business plan and selection of promoter for setting up the park at Kotla Barog.

However, the change of the project site resulted in an unfruitful expenditure of 45.73 lakh.

Later, the department in 2009 entered into an agreement with a firm -- at an estimated cost of Rs 43.93 lakh -- for the preparation of feasibility report, business plan and selection of promoter for the park at Aduwal.

It paid Rs 22.12 lakh for the feasibility report. However, the firm could also not select any promoter for the project and, ultimately, the work relating to the establishment of the park was transferred to the industries department.

Until October last year, the industries department was in the process of transfer of environment clearance and land in its name.

The CAG slammed the government for faulty planning in establishing the park that resulted in the expenditure of Rs 2.07 crore. Besides, the biodiversity of forest land diverted for the park had been changed by cutting 897 green trees, resulting in degradation of the environment in the heavily industrialised area.


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