The Karnataka legislative assembly passed a land reforms bill on Friday to make it easier to divert agricultural land for commercial and industrial purposes while also introducing a 10 year deadline for industries to use land awarded to them following conversion of agricultural land.
The Karnataka Land Reforms and Certain Other Law (Amendment ) Bill 2014 introduced in the legislative assembly by the revenue minister in the Congress government Srinivas Prasad modified sections of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act 1961 and the Karnataka Land Revenue Act 1964 which mandated two separate permissions for diverting agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes.
The Congress government has now modified section 109 of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act 1961 in such a manner that permission granted to acquire land for non agricultural purposes under the law can also be deemed as a clearance given under section 95 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act 1964.
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“Once the permission under section 109 of the Karnataka Land Reform Act, 1961 is taken the permission under section 95 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964 is deemed to have been taken as the procedure under the two enactments is similar but is time consuming as separate permission has to be taken under each enactment which results in undue delay,’’ the government has stated.
If the bill is enacted then industries and organizations will no longer have to stand in line for clearances to use agricultural land for commercial purposes under the Karnataka Land Revenue Act if the government clears the purchase of the agricultural land under the Karnataka Land Reforms Act.
Under the existing system private enterprises need to obtain a separate clearance for usage of agricultural land even if they have already been cleared by the government to purchase the land.
The government also introduced modifications in the land reforms act where private enterprises have to surrender land granted to them at the end of a 10 year period if they fail to utilize the land.
The decision on diverting land lying unused by industries to a government land bank will be taken a high power committee headed by the Chief Secretary under the modified law.
In the course of the debate on the bill some Congress members raised the issue of some persons who were granted land for industrial purposes selling them to third parties for a profit. The Sandur MLA E Tukaram said that former BJP minister G Janardhan Reddy had diverted land allotted to him in Bellary for a steel plant to a third party.