Land pooling policy to boost industrial growth in Gautam Budh Nagar
The Uttar Pradesh government has asked the industrial bodies, including Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway industrial development authority (Yeida), to adopt and implement the land pooling policy for development rather than direct purchase from its owners.
The objective is to procure litigation-free land, create a land bank and use the ready land to attract investment in the region. Industry experts and the officials feel the move will fuel growth, particularly in Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway area, where a slew of projects, including the Jewar international airport and the Film City, are expected to come up.
What does the policy say
In his letter dated September 25, 2020, Uttar Pradesh additional chief secretary Alok Kumar asked all industrial authorities to implement the land pooling policy, first formulated in 2017.
Land measuring at least 25 acres should be given priority, he wrote, and should be located at least 18 meters from roads so that parking and other supporting services can be developed around the plot.
The policy allows industrial authorities to execute expressions of interest (EoI) and invite applications from those who wished to sell their land to the government. If a committee, headed by the authority chief executive officer (CEO), is satisfied with the proposal, they will acquire it with the condition that the government will not be required to pay immediately. Rather, they will develop the acquired land and grant 25% of it to the original owner.
Of this 25%, 80% of it should be developed for industrial use, 12% for residential and 8% for commercial use. The person is also free to sell the whole share to anyone, including to the government. Till the owner gets the developed land, the authority will pay a rent of ₹5,000 per month per acre. However, the owner will also have to develop these units or prefer to sell the land in 10 years else face penalty.
Earlier, the administration would either acquire the land using the Land acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 or directly purchase it. Both would result in intense litigation that would stall any project.
Although the 2013 Act maybe used to acquire land owned by many people in the land pooling policy too, government officials think they may have a stronger case if at least 80% of owners consented or fell under the “strategic” category.
What do the industrial authorities say
All three authorities- Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway industrial development authority are likely to issue a notice in newspapers and website inviting applications from the interested farmers.
“The land pooling policy will help in acquiring the land without the farmers facing any issues with it as the land owners will become the partners in the development. We have a target to acquire at least 3,000 acres from farmers and the land pooling policy will make it easier for us to prepare the land bank and provide the same to industries,” said Narendra Bhooshan, Greater Noida authority CEO that has notified 40,000 hectares between Noida and Yamuna Expressway area.“We will first identify the spots, where we need land for industrial units and then invite applications from farmers to start the process to implement this policy.”
Nodia, however, has only very few areas left with undeveloped land and under the ownership of private people, including farmers.“We will try to implement this policy, wherever we can,” said Ritu Maheshwari, Noida authority CEO.
The policy will prove to be boon for Yeida, where multiple mega industrial projects are proposed.
“The policy will help us in acquiring the land with the support of farmers, who will become partners in the development. We hope the new policy will benefit immensely and boost growth,” said Arun Vir Singh CEO of the YEIDA.
Farmers and industries
Bharatiya Kisan Union’s (BKU’s) Gautam Budh Nagar district president Ajaypal Sharma, however, feels that the new policy is against the interest of farmers.
“The policy seems to be in favour of farmers on the face of it. But how can a farmer set up industry at developed land, when he does not have the funds. And how an unskilled farmer can set up and run a business. This policy will make farmers labourers as he will lose livelihood with land taken by the government. The government should make farmer a partner in the industrial project if he wants us to get benefited,” said Sharma.
Noida entrepreneur association president Vipin Malhan said new policy will help industrial townships.
“If the policy will help in providing the litigation-free land then it can fuel growth and enable mega industrial projects to flourish on time because court disputes delay and affect the industry, when farmers protest.”
Indian entrepreneur association (IEA) general secretary Sanjeev Sharma said, “The new policy may benefit the industrial townships requiring the land above 25 acres. But instead of focusing only on bigger projects the government first must provide the basic civic amenities and better law and order to existing units in Noida and Greater Noida to fuel growth.”