Of the 25-30 acres of land being wasted at the Kanjikode industrial area, a major chunk is with two steel smelting units. Despite issuing notices, the promoters have not returned the land or set up other sunrise industries there.
“Taking back the land is beyond our control as the promoters even use their political influence to prevent us from acquiring it. If the land has a pattayam, we have to approach the Revenue Department. The investors obtain stay order either from the government or the court,” George Thomas additional director of Industries said.
The DIC officials also point out the difficulties in taking back the land from the entrepreneurs. “The land in Kanjikode is being given to the entrepreneurs at Rs 4,296 a cent on a long-term lease. The allotment clause says the land should be put to effective use within six months, which could be extended by the general manager. When the companies fail to set up units after one year, we issue a notice to the allottee. But they buy more time by approaching the court or the government. In some cases, the units are found to be referred to the Debt Recovery Tribunal by the banks,” said T K Mohanachandran, General Manager, DIC.At present, there are about 225 units that are functional in the Kanjikode area, while dozens have downed their shutters over the years. It is alleged that the entrepreneurs who are waiting for land to be allotted are not allowed to take over the closed or sick units. In some cases, the original allottee brings in the buyer.
The Director of Industries had issued a circular in 2009 to all general managers of the district industries centres stating that the original promoter can transfer the land allotted by the DIC if the unit was either defunct, sick or closed. This circular has enabled the original promoters to present their audited balance sheet showing losses and bringing in a prospective buyer who is “ready to take over the liabilities”.