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Uttarakhand agri minister protests Tata land move
Shishir Prashant in Dehra Dun
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September 29, 2008 10:33 IST

The Uttarakhand government's move to allot 50 acres of agriculture land to Tata Motors [Get Quote] for housing purposes has hit a rough patch with Agriculture Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat expressing opposition to the use of farm land for industrial or any other use.

"The agriculture land should be used only for agriculture purposes," said Rawat expressing his strong opposition. Rawat said that a big chunk of land has fallen into the hands of land mafia in the state.

This also means that the company may have to wait for more time to get the 50 acres of land from the government in the wake of reservations expressed by Rawat and some small social groups.

Although the Uttarakhand government had expressed its commitment to allot 50 acres land to Tata Motors during the Thursday's meeting held between Chief Secretary I K Pande and the company officials here, official sources today clarified that the auto major is yet to get the land and that it should wait till a favourable environment is built in the hill state over the issue of land transfer.

The government wants the land from Pantnagar Agriculture University to be given to Tata Motors. Significantly, the University Vice Chancellor B S Bist also said that the land has not yet been allotted. "We have not given any land to Tata Motors.

On the other hand, the sources also clarified that the government has not yet taken any decision regarding the Tata Motors' demand to lower the lease rent to Rs one per sq meter from Rs five per sq meter for its 1000 acres of industrial plot at Pantnagar where it wants to produce Nano car. "The decision is still pending but we are positive on it," said Pande.

But the sources said the decision on both land allotment and lease rent is likely to be taken at the next cabinet meeting.

Meanwhile, HESCO, a Dehra Dun-based social group, has asked the government to safeguard the interests of Uttarakhand before allocating agriculture land for industrial purposes. "We must guard our own interests when we give our prime agriculture land to Tata Motors or other industries," said HESCO Director Dr Anil P Joshi.

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