Differences have surfaced within the Uttarakhand government on the issue of allotting additional land to the Tata Motors plant at Pantnagar.
While the GB Pant University has been asked by the state government to provide more land to the auto major, Trivendra Singh Rawat, agriculture minister, has threatened to oppose any such move. “Uttarakhand has only 11 per cent farm land left, how can we afford to give additional land for industrial purpose” Trivendra Rawat told Hindustan Times. “We have 1.5 lakh hectares barren land in state, the government may provide infertile land to Tata or any other industrial house.”
In a meeting on September 25 with Indu Kumar Pande, chief secretary, Tata officials had asked for 52 hectares land for residential purpose around their existing plant at Pantnagar. This is in addition to the 1,000 acres of agriculture land currently with Tata Motors.
“The government has asked us to make land available for the Tatas,” BS Bisht, vice chancellor, Pantnagar University, said. There was also a need to revise the state’s industrial policy since Uttarakhand does not have plenty of cultivable land, Mahendra Kunwar, land expert, said.