BHUBANESWAR: DAYS after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to the Centre demanding de-notification of land acquired but unused by Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), the BJP on Friday asked the State Government to publish a White Paper on land unutilised by companies which had signed the MoU ahead of the ‘Make-in-Odisha’ conclave.
In an open letter to the Chief Minister, State BJP secretary Lekhasri Samantsinghar said 16,828 acres of land, about 55 per cent of the total land allotted to companies for setting up industries, remains unused. Since many of these companies are prominent partners in the upcoming Make-in-Odisha conclave, the State Government should ask them to utilise the land for the purpose they have taken or de-notify it and return it to the owners. Only then you have the moral authority to write to the Union Coal Minister for de-notification of land unused by MCL,” the letter stated.
Referring to the performance audit report of the then Accountant General, who is now a member of the BJD, the BJP leader said 30,900 acres of agriculture land was allotted to 54 companies under MoUs as on March 2012. The State Government acquired 14,296 acres of government land for 33 private companies by applying ‘public purpose’ clause.
Noting that ‘public purpose’ does not apply to land acquired for private companies particularly when they are paying for it, Samantsinghar accused the government of cheating the people.
The State Government also acquired 7,025 acres of farm land under ‘emergency provision’ by using coercive methods thereby depriving farmers of their livelihood, the letter mentioned.
Alleging that the State Government acquired 2,162 acres of land for some companies even after expiry of their agreement, the letter said undue benefit was given to some companies in the steel sector by providing them 1,324 acres of land over and above their requirement.
Writing to Union Minister for Coal, Piyush Goyal on November 4, the Chief Minister had requested the former to direct MCL to denotify the land acquired Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, but not required for coal mining in next five years.