Shillong, Aug. 19: A group of social organisations in Meghalaya has termed the grant of subsidy to a cement company “a slap on the face of indigenous people” of the state.
Last week, the cabinet committee on economic affairs at the Centre approved Rs 86.09 crore to Adhunik cements, Meghalaya, as central capital investment subsidy under the Central Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme, 2007, of the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy, 2007.
An official statement had stated that the grant of the subsidy would not only provide incentives to the operational units but also “boost” the confidence of existing investors as well as potential investors in the states of the Northeast.
This was the first claim under the policy, 2007, which has been brought for the consideration of the Union cabinet paving the way for approval of other similar cases.
However, the Social Organisations of Meghalaya Against Land Alienation is unhappy with the decision as it felt that the indigenous people here have already suffered “wanton and random” acquisition of their land by companies using their “ploy” without bona fide land deals and transparency in view of the absence of enforcement authorities.
“Cement companies took the liberty to extensively acquire tribal land, which is against the provisions of the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) Act, 1971, without abiding with the enforcement mechanism of the act,” the organisation’s convener, W. Anthony, said in a statement.
He said it was a fact that for the past 42 years, the state government had neglected to enforce the penal provisions of the act since its very inception.
Anthony also pointed out that the absence of enforcement has given rise to the mushrooming of cement plants, and that Adhunik cements was one of them.
“The plight of the people of Meghalaya who are exposed to all forms of exploitation by industrialisation coupled with the intransigence of the state government to solve issues, is lamentable,” he said.
It may be mentioned that in order to promote industrialisation and boost investment in the Northeast, Central Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme, 2007, provides for capital investment subsidy at the rate of 30 per cent of investment in plant and machinery.
Subsidy up to Rs 1.5 crore is approved by the state level committee and from Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 30 crore by an empowered committee chaired by secretary, department of industrial policy and promotion.
Proposals, which are eligible for a subsidy higher than Rs 30 crore, are placed by the department before the Union cabinet for its consideration and approval.
The department has streamlined processes to enable early consideration of pending cases.