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Sick firms’ land to be acquired for promoters

Calcutta, Feb. 17: The government today formally announced its decision to acquire unused land of closed industries and sell them to promoters of commercial and housing complexes.

At a meeting with advocate-general Balai Ray and the secretaries of industry, judicial and industrial reconstruction departments, industry minister Nirupam Sen asked them to examine the Land Acquisition Act to see if it required amendments.

A committee led by the land reforms commissioner submitted a report today on issues that are to be checked while acquiring land. That the government was about to make such a move was reported in The Telegraph last week.

Most of the plots the government is targeting now are close to the city, in North and South 24-Parganas and Howrah. With most sick industries located in these districts — on the fringes of the city — the government first lay its eyes on these areas. Also under the scanner are lands of proposed industries that failed to take off.

“We don’t want to let the fallow lands grow into jungles. Land in and around the city is very expensive and we want their economic utilisation. The city will look better if commercial multiplexes, non-polluting industries and housings came up on these lands,” said Sen.

The government has asked a consultant, Webcon, to compile a database on the closed and sick units in Bengal. “We have sought details on the units’ status, assets, liabilities and why they were shut or became sick. We would find out whether the land had been mortgaged to financial institutions or any other encumbrance,” said Sen.

Entrepreneurs have evinced interest in setting up agro-based industries, particularly in areas close to the city in South 24-Parganas, he added.

IBM pact

IBM today signed an MoU with the government to make students of 200 state-run and state-aided schools computer literate.

Cynthia L. Crose of IBM Global Services said the company will supply computers and faculty to the schools. “We hope to make all students computer literate and we are heading in that direction,” said Crose.

Government officials said students between Classes VII and XII will be charged Rs 50 per month for an IBM certificate.

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