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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Govt reworks land deal for 66 firms

Govt reworks land deal for 66 firms

Calcutta, March 28: The West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation has drawn up a lease agreement to hand over 5,000 acres to 66 companies that include Jindal's Salboni steel plant, TVS's two-wheeler factory in Uluberia and a Matix fertiliser plant in Panagarh.

To set the industrial ball rolling, the WBIDC today signed new lease agreements with seven companies at a board meeting. The seven projects involve over 300 acres and a cumulative investment of about Rs 1,500 crore across sectors like cement, power, food park and auto components.

"At the board meet today, it was decided to have new lease agreements with entrepreneurs who have taken land at different industrial parks of the WBIDC," sources told The Telegraph. The plots are in Raghunathpur, Panagarh, Kharagpur, Sankrail and Salboni, among others.

"We are ready with the lease deed for these 66 companies. Any one of them can come up to the WBIDC and sign from now. Many requested us to give some time since it is the year-end (financial year). We have set an internal target to complete all by April 15. As these land are with us, the companies would not have to take 14y clearance (allowance to hold land excess of ceiling)," industries minister Partha Chatterjee said.

But the new agreements come with changes.

Earlier, the WBIDC used to sub-lease the land to the industry. If the industry was not able to execute the project, the land would be returned to the original owners.

Under the new norms, if the companies are not able to complete their projects, the land would be handed over to the WBIDC, which could then allocate it to some other potential investors.

This could lead to less paperwork and lower the time required to process and hand over the land to the industry.

Also, the WBIDC will have the discretion to fix the timeline of the projects. Initially, a milestone period of three years has been fixed. If the concerned company is unable to complete the project within this time period, the land has to be handed back to WBIDC.

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