As govt looks at feasibility,Ambala IMT still thorn in Cong flesh

Mired in a controversy ever since it was conceived,the Industrial Model Township (IMT) in Ambala is still a bone of contention between ruling Congress members and in-party detractors.

Written by MUKESH BHARDWAJ | Chandigarh | Updated: April 16, 2014 2:49 pm

Mired in a controversy ever since it was conceived,the Industrial Model Township (IMT) in Ambala is still a bone of contention between ruling Congress members and in-party detractors.

By highlighting IMT in the recently concluded Haryana Assembly,Ambala MLA Venod Sharma has once again raked up the issue. But forces against the project are also up in arms. Now,with Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda giving green signal to the project at a rally in Ambala,the government is again ascertaining the feasibility of the project. Earlier as well,it had surveyed the area and earmarked land bordering Punjab towards Lalru for IMT.

Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Kumari Selja,however,has maintained her reservations over the project. At a recent visit to Ambala,she said no fertile land should be acquired for IMT. “The government stalled the project after Youth Congress and landowners opposed the project,but it is adamant due to unsaid reasons,” she had said.

Venod Sharma,while confirming that the project was on,said: “The chief minister has reiterated his commitment to develop an IMT in Ambala last week. The ball is now in the court of the government. It has in the past surveyed certain area in the district but remained short of issuing a notification because of protest from unexpected quarters. The same area of nearly 1,000 acres is still available and it is not much fertile as well.”

He added that the revised land acquisition policy takes better care of farmers. “It’s not only good price but other facilities are also associated with it. Moreover,it will create jobs for the youth. The only requirement is that it should be near Chandigarh because the area should have enough allurement for investment. The investors may be wary of investing their money at a remote destination,” said Sharma.

The IMT will be developed by the Haryana Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC). Initially,it will require nearly 1,000 acres and can be expanded to 2,000 acres. The government expects an investment of Rs 2,000 crore in the beginning,besides job facilities for about 5,000 people. “Despite this,if the project is being opposed,then it can only be for extraneous reasons,” said Sharma.

Earlier,the government had planned a Nano City with Hotmail founder Sabeer Bhatia but the same failed to take off,as farmers protested against land acquisition. The project was planned in the barren patches near Naraingarh,but while some farmers were skeptical about giving up their land,those ready were demanding huge amount.

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