Even as the Congress has got into damage control mode over criticism of the state’s newly announced industrial policy, a minister from the state government’s ally, the NCP, has called the policy the “biggest residential scam ever” in the state.
The NCP minister reportedly said during the cabinet meet that the state government could not allow change of use of land as it was a question of the government’s credibility.
The policy, announced early this week, allows promoters of denotified SEZs to develop residential projects on 40% of the acquired land. The ministers and elected representatives across parties fear discontent among farmers over the provision. SEZs that were denotified in the state for various reasons, have acquired nearly 27,000 hactares of land and most of it was acquired from farmers.
Ministers from the ruling alliance fear that they will have to face farmers’ ire over provisions of permission of using acquired land in the garb of SEZ for residential projects.
A cabinet minister said that the land acquired by SEZ promoters is at a paltry price from farmers. “The government has helped promoters in acquisition by imposing various sections of the Land Acquisition Act. How will we face our electorate after allowing housing activities on land acquired for industrial purpose?” said the cabinet minister.
The NCP minister who termed the policy a “scam” said that promoters would now be free to mint money following the policy as land acquired by them for SEZ was at throwaway prices,” he said.
Industries minister Narayan Rane has, however, rubbished the claims as baseless.