The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dispur eyes private land for projects

Guwahati, July 15: Left with very little land of its own in a city where it requires more space for various projects, the Assam government is ready to heap cash on those willing to part with their prime plots.

The government is understood to have already drafted a Rs 100-crore package to acquire private plots.

Since encroachment of government land has become a political issue, the Tarun Gogoi government will not be able to clear encroachments for implementation of development projects. So, acquiring private plots has become the government’s best option, sources said.

A senior government official attributed the shortage of plots for mega development projects to population pressure and rampant encroachment of government land.

He said though it would be difficult to give exact figures of vacant government land, departments associated with the city’s development had expressed serious doubts about finding suitable plots for several schemes.

The issue came to the fore recently when the Tahal Group, an Israel-based company engaged in building a Rs 1,000-crore water supply scheme for the city, expressed concern over the unavailability of land.

“Of the city’s total area of 262 sq km, a large portion of land is either with central government organisations or private parties. Even though the government has approached NF Railway, Guwahati Refinery, Airports Authority of India and the army to share their vacant plots for development schemes, the responses have been anything but positive,” the official said.

Since there is no other option, the official said the government has decided to acquire segments of private plots under the provisions of the Assam Land Acquisition Act.

He said the act empowers the government to acquire private plots for public welfare activities and development projects after paying adequate compensation.

Dispur has decided to keep aside Rs 100 crore specifically to compensate those whose land will be acquired.

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