May 2016 News

New Industrial Policy Opens Gates For Non-state Subjects In JK

11 May 2016
Greater Kashmir
Muddasir Ali and Mukeet Akmali

Srinagar: The new Industrial Policy for Jammu and Kashmir allows non-state subjects to get on lease the land for setting up industries outside the industrial estates in the state with the policy remaining silent on the upper ceiling of the land to be leased out. Officials said this was for the first time that the Government would be allowing the non-state subjects to set up industries at large scale outside the estates in the state with maximum land lease period fixed at 90 years. The move to lease the proprietary-state land to outsiders has already invited criticism from separatists and the state industrial players as it is being seen in total contradiction of the Government's policy to acquire land-bank of around 20,000 kanals for setting up more industrial estates. The official said under the industrial policy 2016-2026 which was approved under the Governor's rule, an outsider can get land on lease anywhere in the state, with the approval of the Government, for a period of 40 years which can be extended to maximum of 90 years. 'In case of private promoters from outside (non-state subjects), JK SIDCO, SICOP may with the prior approval of the State Government acquire land through district collector on behalf of the private promoter with the cost of the land and the agency charges as may be determined provided in full by the promoter and lease it out on long term basis for 90 years (Initially for a period of 40 years, renewable at the option of lessor for a further period of 40 years at a time provided that maximum period of lease shall in no circumstances exceed 90 years) on mutually agreed terms and conditions.' Sources said the policy has left many 'unanswered questions' as it doesn't talks about the upper ceiling on the land that outsiders can get on lease. 'The Government can lease out the State land to the outside investors on mere premium of few rupees like in the case of National Institute of Fashion Technology which was allocated around 150 kanals of land for Rs 1 at industrial estate Ompora,' said the sources. 'Under the policy an investor can get the land in an area of his liking,' they said. The sources said both the Directorates of Industries in Kashmir and Jammu had given their recommendations for the new industrial policy. 'But the clause that talks about leasing out state-proprietary land to outside players at bulk outside the estates was introduced in the policy at the administrative level in the secretariat,' said the sources. President Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) Muhammad Ashraf Mir said through the newly implemented industrial policy the Government has laid thrust on bringing outside investors in the state at the cost of locals. 'On one hand Government has raised price of land from Rs 1 lakh to 5 lakh per kanal for local entrepreneurs while on the other hand there is plan to provide unlimited land to outside companies which raise apprehensions about the plans of the JK government,' said Mir. Separatist leader AasiyaAndrabi said: 'An industrial policy inviting hundreds of Indian business tycoons and industrialists confirm a well thought out sequence of events and conspiracies aimed at changing the demography of Jammu and Kashmir.' 'This policy will have disastrous consequences for the state as thousands of acres of land will be handed over to outside industrialists for setting up industries; later workforce in huge numbers will be called from outside and such a development will mean that by 2026, the consequences of demographic changes would be evident,' said Andrabi who is the chairperson of Dukhtaran-e-Millat, in a statement. Commissioner, Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Shailendra Kumar said the avenues in Government sector were limited which has prompted the Government to attract outside investments. 'We are looking to attract Rs 20,000 crore investment in next 10 years. In last 10 years when the previous industrial policy was in place the State recorded roughly Rs 3,000 crore investment in industrial sector,' he said. Kumar, however, said the Land Grants Act provides that anybody even outside parties can be provided land for establishing units. 'The clause in the Industrial policy is not new oneIn 1963 Birla group was allowed to establish Chenab Textiles which is still functioning,' he said. Former Financial Commissioner Industries and Commerce KhursheedAGanai, who was the head of the committee that was tasked to draft the policy, said he wasn't aware about the policy which has been implemented. 'By the time the final draft of the policy was approved, I was no longer holding the charge of Industries,' he said.