Two months before he took over as the new finance minister of West Bengal, Amit Mitra, in his capacity as the chief of industry body FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry), proposed to formalise a system of open and transparent auctioning of land assets with state governments for industrialisation.
While Mitra did not to respond to Hindustan Times’ phone calls, Rajiv Kumar, his successor at FICCI said the industry chamber had proposed an annuity based system of e-auctioning of land assets to meet industries’ needs.
To boost confidence that farmers will get market-determined remunerative prices, the government should first auction its own land assets to demonstrate that transparent systems will fetch good returns to land owners, Kumar said.
“The government has sizeable land bank with itself and that needs to be auctioned first in order to boost confidence among people and that should be done in a completely transparent manner,” Kumar, who took over as FICCI’s new secretary-general recently, told HT.
The government-appointed Ashok Chawla committee, which is mandated to recommend measures related to natural resource pricing, is likely to suggest a negotiated market price for farmers in lieu of their land acquired for industrial purposes.
The model, which involves not only the one-time payment for land but also long-term annuity for farmers, besides providing jobs, is referred to as the Haryana model.
Such a model has been adopted by the Haryana government successfully even when farmers’ agitation against land acquisition has been witnessed in several other parts of the country.
The government should auction the sizeable land bank that is owned by many of its departments such as posts and transport companies and industrial development corporations, Kumar said.
The government is also planning to come out with an amended Land Acquisition Act in the wake of incidents such as Bhatta-Parsaul land-row in Greater Noida last month that took a violent turn.