Land for industries may get dearer in Andhra Pradesh

News Posted - 2011-10-13, Last Updated - 2011-10-13

Land allocation to any industry or project in the state will be no more an attractive proposition as per the new land allotment policy finalized by the Andhra Pradesh government. The policy will be placed before all political parties before being tabled in the Assembly in the ensuing session.

The Andhra Pradesh Land Allotment Policy 2011 has proposed that land rates should be on par with open market prices decided by the stamps and registration department. As per the policy, the state will also levy service charge and user charges above the market rate for assisting the industry or project in acquiring land.

In case of private patta land, the government will charge additional costs paid to the farmers, plus cost of the acquisition as decided by the district collector and user charges decided by Unified Land Management Authority (ULMA), a body to be brought in place of the existing empowered committee.

The new policy also proposes that wherever a project is allotted land at a concessional price, the government should take the approval of the Cabinet and convert the land price as equity in the company as a special case. The market value as per the assessment of the registration department will govern the price of the land proposed as government equity in the project.

In case the government resumes land from assignees and allots the same for projects, the ex gratia paid to assignees, alienation cost plus user charges will be collected from the said industry or project. "The state has the paramount responsibility of protecting its precious resource i.e., land and get due share on the revenue front," the policy paper remarked.

For the first time, a mechanism to monitor post allocation of land has also been proposed in the new land allotment policy. Over the years a strange situation has emerged in the state with the revenue department being empowered to alienate land, but having no mechanism to monitor what happens to the land thus allotted. Other departments like information technology, industries, infrastructure and investment, road and buildings, municipal administration also do not have any mechanism to oversee their allotments.

The new policy proposes Project Monitoring Unit (PMU) in each department exclusively to monitor the industries or projects in their respective domains. "As many nuances concerning the PMUs like assessing the financial records, balance sheets, project reports, system flows require experienced professionals, the controlling departments can hire such experts on a contract basis," the policy says.

Projects and industries should give quarterly report on the progress they made to the PMU, just like they submit reports to income tax and registrar of companies. The state government also proposes constituting a land bank for all departments so that they could allot the same for future projects. If the companies fail to fulfill the conditions provided in the MoU or agreement signed during the land allotment, the land will be resumed by the government.

The new policy made it clear that in no case, the money paid by the companies for allotment of land shall be repaid to them. Even the norms for allocation of land has been made very stringent. Instead of acting on the industry's request, the government departments will go by expert recommendations on how much land is needed for a specific project. The departments will outsources the verification and review of project reports by third party professional agencies and investments made in the project and employment to be created will be taken as bench-mark index while allotting the land.

The policy divided the land in the state into four different categories. Tier-1 is HMDA and Tier-2 is UDA limits of Visakhapatnam, Tirupati, VGTM and Warangal. All district headquarters come under Tier-3 and remaining areas will come under Tier-4. The policy said that attempts should be made to push industries and projects to tier-3 and 4 locations in order to reduce the burden on the already overloaded urban infrastructure in Hyderabad and other UDA limits.

Source: / TOI