With an aim to create land banks in rural areas to boost industrial development, the Punjab Cabinet Monday gave in-principle approval to amend the law for transfer of common village land in rural areas to the state’s industry department.
The Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, gave nod to amend the Punjab Village Common Land (Regulation) Rules, 1964, “to facilitate gram panchayats to promote development of villages by unlocking the value of ‘Shamlat’ or village common land”, an official spokesperson said.
“The new rule would pave the way for transfer of ‘Shamlat’ land for industrial projects to the industry department and state-owned Punjab Small Industries & Export Corporation (PSIEC),” the spokesperson said.
Shamlat land is one that does not come under habitation and cultivation and is considered as consolidated land holdings for common use.
It was, however, decided to further fine tune the amendments to ensure that the Panchayats get their dues, with all decisions to be taken on a case to case basis keeping their interests in view, the spokesperson said.
The Cabinet cleared the proposal of the Rural Development and Panchayats Department for insertion of Rule 12-B in the ‘Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Rules, 1964’ to provide special provision for transfer of Shamlat land for development of industrial infrastructure projects, to be implemented by Industry Department and Punjab Small Industries & Export Corporation.
With this amendment, a gram panchayat could, with the prior approval of the state government, transfer the ‘Shamlat land’ vested in it by way of sale on deferred payment terms to industries department or PSIEC for their industrial infrastructure projects. The rates for such transfer may be determined by the committee constituted in clause (2) of sub-rule (3-A) of Rule 6 (Leases to be by auction) of the said state law. The transferee will pay a minimum 25 per cent upfront amount, with the balance to be paid as per terms and conditions to be notified separately.
The Cabinet also approved the modalities to grant sanction to transfer gram panchayat lands for the development of various industrial infrastructure development projects.
The industries department had proposed to amend Rule 12-A (Purposes for which land may be sold) to develop robust infrastructure, including core and supporting infrastructure, which would provide long- term benefits for planned industrial growth.
“The state government has proposed to develop a global manufacturing and knowledge park at Rajpura in Patiala district, to be considered as an Integrated Manufacturing Cluster (IMC) under the Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor (AKIC) project covering 1,000 acres of Panchayat lands. In this context, the state government has identified about 1,000 acres panchayat land in five villages which are Sehra (467 acres), Sehri (159 acres), Aakri (168 acres), Pabra (159 acres) and Takhtu Majra (47 acres), for which in-principle approval has already been given by the industrial and business development board.
The PSIEC requires the outright purchase of 1,000 acres of ‘Shamlat’ land at a cost of around Rs 357 crores from these panchayats,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson further said, “Besides this project, other proposals are also being received for development of industrial parks by PSIEC on Panchayat lands. Moreover, the annual lease holders of gram panchayats may need to be resettled by purchase of cultivable land by gram panchayats.”