Land acquisition: Firms sign affidavit to toe Didiís line

Land acquisition: Govt ensures legal binding that 'land will not be acquired forcibly'

The central government might have made plans for a legislation for land acquisition that will allow the government to acquire at least 33 per cent of the land, but Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, for whom the word "acquire" has become an anathema, is now extracting affidavits from industrialists that clearly say "we will not acquire land forcibly".

There are two clauses in the affidavit: the first says that industrialists will not acquire land forcibly, and the second says that they will use the land taken for industries only for that purpose and nothing else.

The first industrialists who signed the affidavits were 11 entrepreneurs who had land with them in excess of the ceiling of 24 acres and which was regularised by a resolution of the state cabinet today.

The industrial sub-committee of the state Assembly has earlier cleared the regularisation. It was done in accordance with the amendment of Section 14 Y of the West Bengal Land Reforms Act, 1955. Earlier excess land could be held for purposes of setting up mill, factory, workshop, tea garden, etc, but now according to the amendment passed by the new government about six months ago, land can be held in excess of the ceiling, apart of the areas mentioned above, to set up IT parks, industrial parks, food processing units, power plants, to name a few.

The 11 companies that have signed the affidavit include ACC Cement, Power Grid Corporation, SPS Steel and Ankit Metal and Power Ltd.

"The fact is these companies have excess land already, but they may need land in future for further expansion. And this government is becoming extra-cautious against land acquisition and that is why they are getting these affidavits signed. The purpose is to keep the industrialists in a legal binding so that they cannot go in for any forcible acquisition,'' an official of the department of commerce and industries told The Indian Express.

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