Favoured Reliance loses out in Punjab
Chandigarh, January 3
The Punjab government has decided against giving land at concessional rates to Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) for its farm-to-fork project. This land, measuring over 1,100 acres across the state, was given to the corporate house by the previous Amarinder-led Congress government.
Sources in the state government told The Tribune that it would use the land to create a land bank of its own and invite multi-nationals and other corporate houses to set up industry here.
Earlier, the previous Congress government had agreed to give about 480 acres of panchayat land across 23 sites in Punjab, 450 acres across six industrial areas and a chunk of 150 acres at the Laddowal farm, near Ludhiana, to Reliance Retail Limited, a subsidiary of the company, on varying terms and conditions. This land was allotted to the company at hugely concessional rates (rates at which this land was acquired by the various boards and corporations).
“The MoU signed with Reliance was a document related to expression of interest in starting a project in the state, which is binding on the government. Though a formal decision is yet to be taken, we propose to use this land for creating a land bank. Since surplus land is not available with the state government, we cannot offer it to anybody at subsidised rates. Moreover, even Reliance has not shown any interest in pursuing this project and taking over the land,” said chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh.
Reliance had proposed to invest Rs 3,000 crore in phases in agriculture and allied sectors by 2011. The previous government had offered 169.49 acre at Goindwal at a nominal rate. This land belonged to the Punjab Small Industrial Export Corporation (PSIEC). The Congress government had also offered 347.22 acre for Rs 41.28-crore at Malout, Abohar, Muktsar, Mansa and Tanda. This land also belonged to the PSIEC. “RIL is welcome to invest in the state, but no freebies in terms of land allotment will be offered to them. Concessions will be granted only as per the mega projects and ultra-mega project of the state,” said SS Channy, principal secretary, industries, Punjab.