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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Quality lure to acquire land

Patna, Nov. 29: A better piece of land with improved infrastructure might lure its owners to part with the plot.

With land acquisition being a major hurdle for Bihar towards industrialisation, the state industries department is planning this new strategy to make the process easier. Sour-ces said the idea, a brainchild of Bihar Industries Association (BIA), has caught the eye of the department, which is now seriously considering it.

The government is currently not acquiring much land as the process is quite cumbersome. Besides, in Bihar, no one really wants to sell land. The Come to Bihar initiative, launched last year inviting landowners to give their plots to the government, found no takers. The new plan talks about the government holding discussions with the landowners and also investing money in their plots to develop the infrastructure. The aim is to add value to the landowners plots, a source said.

BIA president KPS Kesri said the process could work very well. He told The Telegraph: The state approaches the landowner and enters into a deal with him or her, under which the government bears the cost of a major part of the infrastructure work like construction of roads and drains. An agreement can be signed with the landowners. The value of land will increase automatically and the owners can get better price for the plots while acquisition.

As part of the process, if the government needs 100 acres at a particular place, a notification would be issued first. Thereafter, the department for which the land has been acquired is identified. If the industries department wants a land, its market value is sent to the respective district administration and the money is evenly distributed among the landowners.

The government would contact the landowners during the acquisition process. It will talk to them before releasing funds to develop infrastructure, the industries department official said.

At present, Bihar faces a major land acquisition problem. Sources said the last acquisition was done in Bihta on the outskirts of Patna more than three years ago.

People in Bihar are very sensitive about their land. The basic step towards acquisition, updating of land records, is not done here. This results in conflicts and court cases and the government asks investors to acquire land themselves, Satyajit Kumar, the vice-president of the eastern region of the Confederation of Indian Industry, said.

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