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Land acquisition row delays projects in K'taka

Mahesh Kulkarni  |  Bangalore 

The Karnataka government has been facing an uphill task in acquiring land for big-ticket steel and power projects. The land acquisition process in Bellary and Haveri districts, where mega steel plants of ArcelorMittal and Tata Metaliks are proposed to come up, is likely to be delayed as farmers have rejected the government’s offer, alleging that it had fixed ‘throwaway’ prices for their land.

Already, farmers in Bijapur district have rejected the government’s offer for their land to set up a 4,000-Mw super-critical thermal power station by state-run NTPC Ltd. They have demanded Rs 20-30 lakh per acre as against the government compensation between Rs 2.75 lakh and Rs 3 lakh per acre.

Farmers from Kuditini village in Bellary district recently staged a protest in front of the deputy commissioner’s office in Bellary town, demanding better compensation for their land.

Earlier, at a meeting convened by the deputy commissioner, who is also the head of the government’s price fixing committee, the farmers rejected the government’s offers of Rs 16 lakh, Rs 12 lakh and Rs 8 lakh per acre depending on the proximity to national highways, and instead demanded Rs 77 lakh per acre.

“We have announced the price based on the three-year of registration value in that area. It is not feasible to pay Rs 77 lakh per acre. The deputy commissioner of Bellary has submitted his recommendation to the board of Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB). The board would take a decision in this regard in the next 15 days,” a senior official of KIADB told Business Standard.

KIADB has issued a preliminary notification for acquisition of 1,658 acres in Boodagatti and Agadi villages in Haveri district for Tata Metaliks, which has proposed to set up a 3-million-tonne per annum (MTPA) iron and steel plant in two phases at an investment of Rs 15,000 crore. Another 608 acres in Devagiri and Yeallapur villages are being acquired for a proposed housing project by the Tatas. However, farmers have declined to sell their land.

KIADB has issued a final notification for acquisition of 4,500 acres land in Kuditini village of Bellary district for ArcelorMittal’s 6-MTPA steel plant. The Indian arm of ArcelorMittal has already deposited the first installment of Rs 270 crore with KIADB for land acquisition.

“Farmers are demanding up to Rs 1 crore in some places. The state government has discussed the issue with them. They are not against selling their land, but want higher price. The government is ready to pay up to three times the local guidance value,” said Murugesh R Nirani, minister for large and medium industries. He, however, said the Rs 77 lakh per acre demanded by farmers in Bellary was not feasible and acceptable to the government.

First Published: Fri, September 03 2010. 00:56 IST