CM under pressure to review new industrial policy

Ministers, MLAs urge Chavan to make corrections.

Pressure is mounting on CM Prithviraj Chavan to review the new industrial policy.

Senior Congress ministers and MLAs expressed concern as the policy appears to allow housing projects on 40% of land acquired for special economic zones.

Patangrao Kadam, Nitin Raut and Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil have cautioned the government about a possible backlash from farmers. State Congress leaders have also taken up the matter with All India Congress Committee (AICC) functionaries in Delhi.

CM is speaking to elected members to ascertain the gravity of the protests.

Vikhe-Patil said, "It appears the policy has ignored concerns of the agriculture sector and interests of farmers. They should have reserved some area for agro industries."

After all, 60 per cent of people in the state are engaged in agriculture. The minister said the Centre had taken the initiative to promote agro industries, but its schemes could be implemented without state support.

He explained, "Agro industries require massive investment. The government should have provided land and developed infrastructure for agro-industry."

A senior officer in the industries department said, "I don't want to comment on the senior cabinet minister's reservations. But the thrust of the new industrial policy is on manufacturing units. Our objective is to provide incentives to promote small- and medium-scale industries and generate employment opportunities."

Minister for employment guarantee scheme (EGS) Raut was not sure the policy will yield the desired result.

Minister for forest Kadam was not pleased, either. The big debated in Congress and among senior ministers is on infrastructure.

The ministers pointed out the new policy did not have terms and conditions emphasised in the 2006 policy regarding development of 50% of land under the non-processing category.

Ahead of the 2014 state and parliamentary elections Congress ministers and MLAs fear the policy will send a wrong message that the party is ignoring farmers and the poor.

... contd.

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