KIADB works like a massage parlour, says chief secretary

The functioning of the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) came under criticism from Chief Secretary, Kaushik Mukherjee, who said it was “somewhat similar” to that of a massage parlour—offering different treatment to different people.

Addressing the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FKCCI) here on Monday, Mukherjee said, “The KIADB should not function like a massage parlour but should be a transparent body. Land allotment should be done in a transparent manner.”

Amid thunderous applause, Mukherjee added that he intended to put all land transactions on the Internet so that everybody could see which land was distributed to whom. “In the next two months, you will find the KIADB more transparent due to our initiatives,” said Mukherjee.

His remarks came when the FKCCI members put forth a demand that exorbitant land prices be reduced for the industries to grow.Acknowledging the contribution of industries in shaping Karnataka as an industrial hub, Mukherjee conceded that land prices were high and dependent on demand and supply.

“Granting of land means reduction in agriculture land. The availability of land is still the same. The decreasing agriculture land means increasing agriculture produce. However, I am of the belief that the role of middlemen should not be there,” said Mukherjee.

The chief secretary supported the demand for abolishing trade licences.
“Trade licenses shall be abolished. I have moved a proposal in this regard.”

FKCCI members also sought to know the measures taken by the State government to address the garbage problem. Mukherjee said that the best option was to reduce the volume of garbage.

“If 50 per cent of the garbage can be sent for composting, then the garbage problem will come down substantially. In this regard, we are setting up processing plants of 1,000 tonnes capacity. By January and February, the capacity would increase to 2,000 tonnes. We also intend to generate power from waste, whereas we are working on using debris and plastic for road construction.”

He also spoke about the steel and mining sector in the light of the ban on mining, the delay in Metro rail project and the challenges faced by the medium and small-scale industries.

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