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Gujarat govt's land largesse benefits big industrial houses

BS Reporters  |  Mumbai/ Ahmedabad 

Essar, Tatas, Adani given land at throwaway prices: Opposition Congress

Leading industrial houses like Tatas, Adani and Essar have seemingly benefitted from Gujarat government's assistance in acquiring land. The state government has given away huge chunks of land to leading industries at nominal prices, even lower than the prevailing Jantri rates in some instances.

These charges have surfaced at the recent state Assembly sessions wherein the Opposition Congress alleged that the government had even given away grasslands to industry houses.

Few weeks ago, the state government had admitted in the assembly that Essar Ltd had encroached large chunk of forest land worth Rs 250 crore in Hazira.

“Essar has scrapped the SEZ status for its upcoming project in Hazira for which it was given government land. Besides, Tata has been given 1031 hectare of land for its IT project, two years ago. Tata has yet not started work in the project and the government has failed to take back the land,” Gohil said in the Assembly today.

Meanwhile, Adanis have been given about 3.15 crore sq m of land for its Mundra Special Economic Zone in Kutch.

“Adani group was given land in Sekhadia village for only Rs 8 per metre. As per Central government rule, a developer cannot sell land meant for SEZ purpose. However, Gujarat government had its own designs. The industrialist has sold land at thousands of rupees per metre,” according to Gohil.

In response to a starred question on March 3 from senior Congress MLA Babu Shah from Rapar on whether the government had given land to Tata Power at below Jantri rates, state revenue minister Anandi Patel had said, “Yes, the state government has allotted government land to Tata Power at below Jantri rates. The government has offered land to Tata at the Rs 135 and Rs 137 less than the prices offered to private land owners."

Jantri rate, a ready reckoner for fixing stamp duty, is fixed by state government and is often lower than prevailing market rates. The government had given land to Tata that was worth Rs 600 crore for just Rs 4 crore, according to the Congress leader.

When contacted, the leader of opposition revealed that Gujarat government has allotted 7669 hectares for six SEZs, which include Gauchar or grassland to the tune of 1,549 hectares. This information was provided by the state government under Right to Information Act (RTI), Gohil said.

As per the data placed in the state assembly, Gujarat government has allotted 4830 hectares of land to Reliance, Tata and Adani Group over period of last three years. Reliance has been given 1,333 hectares of land for its Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Jamnagar in addition to 57 hectares for marine tank farm well as 1225 sq. mt for refinery related works.

Tata Group has been provided 1476 hectares of land, which includes 1031 hectares for its information technology (IT) project in Gandhinagar to be set up by Tata Consultancy Ltd and 445 hectares for much-hyped Nano car project in Ahmedabad.

Adani Group has been allotted 1964 hectares of land for SEZ project in Kutch.

Meanwhile, Gujarat government through Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation has stepped up its drive to acquire more land in the state for industrial development. In its annual financial statement (budget estimates) for the year 2010-2011, GIDC has proposed to acquire 31,241 hectares of land during fiscal 2010-11.

The corporation has already worked out details for acquisition of 10,117 hectares, of which 7000 hectares are proposed to be bought in Dahej where huge investments have been committed.

First Published: Wed, March 24 2010. 00:35 IST