Punjab News Rajpura industrial project may be scrapped


Staff member
Chandigarh May 7:

The much-touted and flagship industrial project of the Punjab Government, Global Industrial and Knowledge City (GIKC) at Rajpura, may not see the light of the day.

Highly placed sources in the government told media that the government is considering scrapping the project because of refusal of the Industries Department to offer compensation to land tillers at the rates promised to them by the Chief Minister. Citing unavailability of upfront funds, the department has said that the project would become financially unviable if it was to pay a compensation of Rs 30 lakh per acre.

The issue was discussed at a meeting chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal recently. Officials of the Industries Department reportedly said that they could not pay the compensation that the Chief Minister had committed to the farmers for their land. At this rate, the cost of land acquisition alone would go up to Rs 435 crore (for 1450 acres of land earmarked for the project), they pointed out.

Over and above this cost, the state government would have to invest Rs 1,150 crore on development of external infrastructure. This would make it financially unviable, especially when the state did not have any upfront money for the park, the department officials said. The state government had proposed to set up an integrated industrial park here, attracting big names in the IT, textile, food processing and auto and light engineering sectors.

Though the state government had announced setting up this Global Industrial and Knowledge City in November 2009, the project was delayed because of opposition by villagers to land acquisition. Following an agitation by farmers against the acquisition for GIKC, the Chief Minister had said that the panchayat of each of the six villages where land was being acquired would get Rs 12 lakh per acre. In addition, the farmers tilling the village common land for decades would get Rs 18 lakh per acre as compensation.

The state government has already deposited Rs 150 crore with the land acquisition collector for acquiring the village common land in six villages near Rajpura - Sehra, Pabra, Sehri, Takhtu Majra, Akri and Akar.