At least 234 acres of land near the Statue of Unity (SoU) in Gujarat have been given on a token rent of Re 1 to nine projects – including the Tent City – by the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL).
The annual report of SSNNL for the year 2018-’19, tabled in the recently concluded monsoon session of the Gujarat Assembly, stated that “land has been given on token rent of Rs 1 per annum” to various projects being developed to attract tourists to the predominantly tribal region of the state.
Of the 234 acres given on token rent for 30 years, 34 acres have been allocated to the Tent City, which is run by a private operator and is located five kilometres away from the SoU and the Sardar Sarovar dam. Similarly, the biggest chunk of land – 44 hectares – has been given for a Jungle Safari, which is one of the 30 projects being developed near the SoU. Jungle Safari and the other eight projects who have been given land on token rentals are part of these 30 projects meant to attract tourists near the dam. “Tent City is the government project of the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) and we have given the land to the government company on a token rent. We didn’t wish to charge the government agencies commercially and so, we have given land at token rentals,” a senior official from SSNNL told The Indian Express.
Similarly, 48,856 square meters of land have been given for construction of guesthouses of other states and another 1.59 lakh square meters have been given to Western Railway, which is in the process of providing rail connectivity to the SoU.
Land has also been given for Vishwa Van (60,200 square meters), Ekta Nursery (25,000 square meters) and Educational institutions (59,167 square meters).
“These lands have been given on token rent during the early part of 2019,” the official said.
SSNNL, which has been set up by the government of Gujarat to execute, operate and maintain the Sardar Sarovar Project comprising a dam and canal system, have as of March 31, 2019, acquired 59,540 hectares. “Most of this land acquisition was carried out for the dam and the canal network in the 1960s,” the official added.
During the year 2018-’19, over 15.61 lakh tourists visited Kevadiya Colony. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the SoU on October 31, 2018, over 12 lakh visitors have visited SoU in the first five months.
In the past, too, SSNNL has given land near Kevadia colony on Rs 1 annual rental. This includes land for the Industrial Training centre in 2009, quarter for staff of the Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited and the Gujarat State Cooperative Bank.
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