The state government of Odisha is creating a 1.2 lakh acre land bank across the state for allocation to the industrial.
- With an aim to remove red tapism and avoid the local issues in land acquisition, the state government is acquiring government land for industrial use and proposes to offer it with all facilities in place.
- Odisha Government is creating the land bank in order to avoid another POSCO-like fiasco.
What is POSCO Fiasco?
- In 2005, South Korean Company, POSCO, signed a MOU with the Odisha government to set up a 12-million-ton-capacity steel project in Jagatsinghpur district.
- Without having any land at its disposal, Odisha Government committed to provide nearly 4000 acres of land for this purpose.
- Odisha Government faced tremendous resistance from farmers whose land was allocated to POSCO for the steel project
- Mostly Dalits or Santhal tribals, the villagers wanted to continue to earn their livelihood from the forest, and did not believe that jobs or other compensation promised to them would improve their lives.
- A decade-long resistance including legal challenges followed
- Firstly on account of public resistance over land acquisition and later due to regulatory hurdles, the project never started.
- In the beginning of 2017, POSCO exited from the deal, thereby eliminating hopes for huge investments and employment opportunities in the state.
Key Facts of Odisha Government’s Land bank for Industrial Use:
- Already, the land bank has reached 57,655 acres.
- Odisha State Government has also identified other areas across the state which will be brought under this land bank. Another 122,428 acres of land is being considered to be brought under the land bank.
- Odisha industry department will invest in various sectors including steel, aluminium, agro and food processing based units, apparel, IT and plastic units by allocating the patches of land to interested companies.
- This investment will further enhance the employment opportunities in and around land bank areas.
- The Government has decided to follow plug-and-play kind of model where all the amenities like water, power, roads etc will be provided
- The land will also have all the necessary clearances.
- The company to which land will be allocated will only have to make the payment of base premium upfront for the land and the annual rent for rest of the 90 years (their lease)
- Conflict arises when industrial or infrastructure projects are proposed on land that communities inhabit, earn livelihood from, or have customary rights over
- Over 200 million Indiansdepend on forestland for basic living needs, while 118.9 million Indians practice farming on 160 million hectares of land
- From the point of view of the government, building land banks allows them to offer land to private investors right away, rather than having to wait for the lengthy process of land acquisition each time an investor wants land
- Investors like to know that the land is acquired and available, and that they won’t run into political problems down the road
- Making land readily available for economic activities sounds like a rational move, however, a different picture also emerges–of conflict, and denial of people’s rights
- Land rights activists say the idea of land banks is problematic in itself. “They steal land from villages and reverse long-needed land reforms,”
♦ Pradeep Gautam
Press Information Bureau