Scrap concept of land bank: Bommai

Basavaraj Bommai

Water Resources Minister Basavaraja Bommai on Sunday openly questioned the government’s policy of land acquisition for industrial purposes and said the concept of ‘Land Bank’ should be scrapped.

He told Deccan Herald here that an ‘industrial land audit’ would reveal how much land had been used to establish industrial units, and how much was being used for non-industrial purposes like formation of layouts, townships, and entertainment joints.

With the good intention of encouraging industries, all the successive State governments had allotted thousands of acres of land after acquiring fertile agriculture lands.

There are reports from every district about the misuse of the land allotted by the government. In the name of promoting tourism and industries, thousands of acres of land was being taken only to be used for non-industrial purposes.

Only an audit by the government would reveal the real scenario.

Bommai sought to know why thousands of acres was required to set up industries when the agriculture sector was under tremendous stress. The purpose of commissioning many irrigation projects by spending crores of rupees would go waste if agriculture land was acquired to set up industries.

Reclaim land

Need of the hour was to revisit the State Industrial Policy, and allot whatever land required to set up the units.

The land should be confiscated, besides slapping a criminal case, if any industrialist was found using land allotted for other purposes. It is not known why IT/BT industries require hundreds of acres when they work in small air conditioned offices.

According to an estimate, thousands of acres of agriculture land was with industries, and it was possible to reclaim it only after a thorough auditing.

The minister said, the areas under agriculture was shrinking in the State, and thousands of farmers were being thrown out of their traditional occupation due to large-scale acquisition of land.

“There is an emergent need to put the brakes on acquisition of agriculture land, and scrap the concept of ‘Land Bank’. Any person, who wishes to set up industry, should buy land from farmers directly at the prevailing market price. The government should not interfere in this at all,” he noted.

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