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Nitish plans new land policy, says no to SEZs

Nistula Hebbar  |  New Delhi 

At a time when acquisition of land for special economic zones (SEZs) and industry is picking up pace and stirring up controversies, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has decided to play safe by saying a firm no to SEZs and enunciating a new land policy for his state.
Kumar, whose government completes one year this week, said Bihar was neither against not in favour of SEZs.
"We are watching the debate and will take the best from it. There is too much pressure on land in Bihar. We have seen that local economies do not benefit from SEZs," he said.
"We will shortly announce a land policy which will set higher compensation for people whose land is acquired. This will be done in a transparent manner," he said, adding that setting up SEZs was "like creating a new country within a particular area."
"Developmentally, Bihar is not ready for this, and for our goals, it is not a solution," he said.
Kumar said Bihar needed massive infusion of both public and private funds. "Usually, private funds go where public spending is high. Which is why we have increased our Plan expenditure this year from Rs 5,000 crore to Rs 8,200 crore," he said.
"We are also improving the power situation by identifying three sites, Navinagar, Peerpainti and Katihar, for setting up power plants," he said.
He said the State Industrial Promotion Board had cleared 61 proposals for setting up industries. "The results will be evident in the next 3-4 years," he said.
On his one year in office, he said his best achievement had been improvement in law and order situation and 50 per cent reservation for women for the posts of mukhias in gram panchayats.

First Published: Fri, November 24 2006. 00:00 IST