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Nitish shield for farm land

Patna, Dec. 26: The Nitish Kumar government has told the Centre that agricultural land will not be given for industrial development, including SEZs.

The state government wrote to the Union ministry of commerce saying “only waste and barren lands would be made available for industrial activities”. Agricultural land will not be given even for special economic zones but would be conserved for cultivation.

The ownership of land, said a senior official, would not be transferred to the developer but would be leased on a long-term basis with the “provision of extension of the lease”. “The government has already taken up several projects related infrastructure development — including building roads, flyovers, bridges and power projects — for speedy development of the state. But these government-sponsored projects do not interfere with the fertile land of the farmers. The state’s farmers own highly fertile land, which will be conserved solely for agriculture purposes,” the senior official said, quoting the letter.

The chief minister had recently said: “The state will in no way go for forcible acquisition of farmers’ land.”

He also suggested that the industrialists concerned directly deal with the farmers to acquire land.

Nitish said: “Our government will further step up infrastructure development activities but not at the cost of the fertile agriculture land the state is endowed with.”

Referring to the sugar factories, he added: “Efforts are on to hand over the closed factories to private entrepreneurs. These factories had sufficient land with them and there was no need for land acquisition for their revival.”

Nitish has wanted to industrialise the state by using farmers’ land. But seems the violence and bloodshed in Nandigram and other place changed his mind.

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