Land conversion for industries made easy

While some members fear that the spirit of land reforms may be diluted, the Legislative Assembly on Friday adopted the 2014 Karnataka Land Reform Bill and certain other laws (amendment), which simplifies the standards for modifying the model. use of agricultural land for industrial purposes. and for other non-agricultural purposes.

At present, those who get permission from the government to purchase agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes to establish industries, educational institutes, hospitals, among others, under Section 109 of Karnataka’s Land Reform Act 1961, are required to re-apply for land use model conversion, making it a tedious process.

However, while piloting the bill, Revenue Minister V. Srinivas Prasad said the proposed legislation would grant a deemed conversion of the land use model as soon as agricultural land is purchased for industrial and non-agricultural purposes, in under section 109.

This, he said, would go a long way in encouraging industrial development. The request to introduce such amendments had been pending for a long time. The question had arisen even during the two Global Investors’ Meets (GIM) organized by the previous government, when potential investors had requested it.

The current law provides for the government to withdraw land, purchased under section 109, if the purchaser fails to create the industry within two years. However, the above bill seeks to extend this deadline to seven years. In addition to that, a provision has also been made for buyers of such agricultural land to approach a committee headed by the Chief Secretary to request an extension of the deadline if they cannot complete it within the allotted time.

KR Congressman Ramesh Kumar and Bharatiya Janata Party member Basavaraj Bommai expressed concern that such a bill could dilute the spirit of land reforms, the main purpose of which is to ensure that land agricultural products are not taken away from farmers.

Mr Bommai wanted the government to set a pay-as-you-go cap on the total amount of land that can be allocated to industrialists under section 109 with the aim of preventing buyers from abusing the provisions of the proposed legislation and to seize all agricultural land. He taunted Congress, which once introduced land reforms, for watering it down now.

Another BJP member, Jagadish Kumar, expressed concern about the lack of a land audit mechanism to assess the actual land needs of different industries. Misusing the lack of a land audit process, industrialists are inflating their land requirements and buying surplus land so that the extra land can be used for real estate purposes, he alleged.

Mr. Prasad assured members to consider their suggestions so that they can be incorporated when drafting the rules of the proposed legislation.