In an apparent snub to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee,his Cabinet colleague and Minister for Land and Land Reforms Abdur Rezzaq Mollah told the Assembly on Friday that henceforth industrialists would have no freedom to choose land and would have to choose from the land that the state earmarks for industries.
After its debacle in the Lok Sabha elections,Bhattacharjee had handed over the Land Use Board,till then under the Commerce and Industries Department,to the Land Reforms Department under Mollah. We have got charge of the Land Use Board just two months ago. It will take up to six years to prepare the map for the whole state. Initially,we have chosen 74 blocks in six districts and are making an extensive map earmarking land for industry and agriculture. Investors will have to set up units only at the sites shown by us; they cannot choose land at will like they did in Singur. If they are satisfied with the land shown by us,it is fine. Otherwise,we will show them the door, said Mollah.
Mollah added his department was thinking of enacting a legislation which would prevent cultivable land from being sold to a non-farmer,like in Maharashtra. We will try to enact the law as soon as possible, the minister said.
I am the minister for land and my primary job is to protect the interests of farmers, the minister said while wrapping up his reply to the Budget debate,as other members,including Leader of Opposition Partha Chatterjee,thumped the desk in approval.
Mollah also accepted that many party offices have come up on government land.