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Alternative plot in the offing for Sourav Ganguly's steel factory in West Midnapore

The cabinet has approved the proposal in which it was said that 350 acres vested with the land and land reforms department would be transferred to the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation at Garbeta, a source said

Pranesh Sarkar Calcutta Published 05.12.23, 08:55 AM
Sourav Ganguly.

Sourav Ganguly. File picture

The state cabinet on Monday approved a proposal to hand over 350 acres of vested land at Garbeta in West Midnapore to the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC).

The move assumed significance as sources said the land parcel could be leased out for the steel factory that was announced by former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly during Mamata Banerjee’s Spain trip.

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“The cabinet has approved the proposal in which it was said that 350 acres vested with the land and land reforms department would be transferred to the WBIDC for industrial purposes at Garbeta in West Midnapore. In all likelihood, the proposed steel factory of Sourav would come up on this particular land parcel,” said a source who attended the cabinet meeting held at the Assembly.

The sources said the government would charge Re 1 from the WBIDC for the land. The WBIDC would be able to lease out the plot to any investor following its norms.

Initially, the government had planned to give land to Sourav at Salboni in West Midnapore. Soon after Sourav’s announcement of the steel plant in Bengal during the chief minister’s visit to Spain in September to showcase the state as an investment destination, the cabinet approved a proposal to grant freehold rights to 4,102 acres of land to JSW Steel at Salboni in West Midnapore. The plot was leased out to the company by the erstwhile Left Front government.

“As about 3,000 acres of land were lying unused, the government had included a rider that the company would set up an industrial park on 1,989 acres after the freehold rights were granted. Within the industrial park, 600 acres were supposed to be transferred to Sourav for the proposed steel factory,” said a source.

“But the deal has apparently fallen flat because of some unavoidable circumstances. That is why the government had to find an alternative plot for the steel factory,” the source added.

Sources in West Midnapore said the top brass of the government had asked the district authorities to find an alternative land of 500 acres since the plot could not be ensured in Salboni.

“But it was tough to find such a huge tract of plot free from all encumbrances since Bengal is a land-critical state. Meanwhile, the demand for land had come down to 350 acres as the proposed steel factory had scaled down its need for land. A vested plot measuring 298 acres was found in Garbeta a few days ago and another 52 acres of vested land was identified adjacent to the vested land,” said a source in West Midnapore.

A bureaucrat said: “Sourav has been made the brand ambassador of the state recently. If the state cannot allot land for his steel factory, it does not send a good message. Hence, all efforts were put in to find the alternative land.”

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