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State govt denies CAG charges on land allotment to corporates

The minister said as per procedure the report would now be submitted to Public Account Committee.

Written by Express News Service | Gandhinagar | Published: April 4, 2013 5:21 am

Responding to the report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) regarding land allotment to corporate houses,the Gujarat government Wednesday rubbished the charges saying the top auditor did “subjective audit instead of an objective audit” of state finances.

State Energy Minister and government spokesman Saurabh Patel said,“The Government do not intent to raise question against credibility of CAG report. But keeping into consideration the state development,employment opportunities and revenue generation,the land allotment policy in the state is the best and transparent.” The minister said as per procedure the report would now be submitted to Public Account Committee.

For Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gandhinagar,the government said except for the relatively nominal participation in share equity/project development fund at the initial stage,the state government by merely leveraging the barren uncultivated land and unlocking its value has acted as a catalyst for the huge outside investment of the order of Rs 78,000 crore over a period of time which will unfold tremendous economic prosperity and growth of the region.

The CAG report pointed out large-scale discrepancies in land valuation in the ambitious GIFT City project coming up in Gandhinagar. It found that the land valued at Rs 2,700 crore was allotted by the state Cabinet for a nominal price of Rs 1.

The release added that Gujarat government has given land to L&T Technology Park considering availability of skill human resources and the government’s intention is to build a pool technical workers. However,the CAG has taken positive approach of the government different.

The CAG report said “undue financial benefit” to the extent of almost Rs 80 lakh were given to L&T while allotting land (2005 and 2006) in Vadodara district for establishment of a technology park.

In connection of land allotment to Ford India Private Limited,car manufacturer in Sanand,the government said land allotted for it was valued by a state-level approval committee,headed by chief secretary. The project was considered as mega a project. “Objection in the CAG report against land allotment does not stand,” it says. According to CAG report,the value of the land as per the CAG was required to be ascertained by district-level valuation committee.

For land allotted to ESSAR Steel at Hazira,the government said the objection do not exist as the allotment procedure is not over yet. According to CAG report,the state government also faced a short recovery of about Rs 238 crore after it decided (2009) to regularise the encroachment over 7.24 lakh square metres of land in Hazira by Essar Steel.

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