Reliance wants no encroachers

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By RABI BANERJEE in Krishnagar
  • Published 1.09.06

Krishnagar, Sept. 1: Reliance Industries has sought a slew of clarifications from the government regarding the state-owned Haringhata Dairy — from land use and ownership to its employees and finances.

A letter from Mukesh Ambani’s company to chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb says: “We must know the area(s) on the Haringhata farm which have been leased out to other parties, such as (the) fisheries department…. This is to ensure that there is a clear demarcated area for the dairy farm without any outside presence.”

Reliance wants to take over the 4,000-acre farm in Nadia, 45 km from Calcutta, to set up a model dairy and research facility. A report on its plans is already with the government, which has agreed to the proposal in principle.

But before submitting the detailed project report, the company has sought a “master lay-out” indicating “unit-wise area details inside the farm”.

Reliance, which has ambitious plans regarding the dairy business, has indicated an investment of Rs 500 crore in Haringhata.

The dairy, which once produced 100,000 tonnes of milk everyday, now produces around 5,000 tonnes. Reliance has sought data on its budget, income and expenditure over the past three years, employee details, liabilities, quality of cattle and projects in pipeline.

But land is clearly the most important issue. Sources suggested that 600-700 acres of the farm’s land have been leased out to various departments and over 400 acres have been encroached upon.

“We had to utilise the vacant land and so we gave it to the fisheries department on contract and leased out a part to the panchayat. We also allowed a school, college and an institute on the campus,” animal husbandry minister Anisur Rahaman said.

Aware of Reliance’s “no encroachment” demand, Rahaman said the government has replied to the queries and is awaiting its response.