Sunday, September 12, 2010

Large tracts of fertile land must not be lost in acquisitions for industry: Sonia

The Hindu Business Line :
Large tracts of fertile land must not be lost in acquisitions for industry: Sonia

The UPA Chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Sept. 9

The UPA Chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi, said a balanced approach is needed while acquiring land for industrial purposes and that this should not lead to a loss of “large tracts” of fertile land.

Amid rising confrontations between agricultural land owners and industrial project developers, Ms Gandhi also said farmers are entitled to “adequate compensation” wherever land is acquired for industrial use.

“New industries and infrastructure cannot be built without acquiring land. This is obvious and there is no argument about it. But land acquisition must be done in a manner that it does not result in the loss of large tracts of fertile and productive agriculture land that is so essential to grow food grains for our people,” Ms Gandhi said here today at a function organised to dedicate the 980-MW second stage of NTPC Ltd's National Capital Thermal Power Project at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh.

Farmers must be provided adequate compensation and alternative occupation where their lands are acquired, Ms Gandhi said. States such as Haryana had enacted progressive legislations in this regard and other States should emulate it.

“We must protect the environment to ensure sustainable development. In whatever we do, we should not forget the forests and environment. Farmers should be provided adequate compensation,” she said.

The land requirement for large-sized industrial projects varies across sectors. Tata Motors was keen to acquire around 404 hectares of multi-crop land for its small-car factory in West Bengal before the group decided to shift to Gujarat.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd is currently working on plans to acquire 938 hectares for its proposed 6000-MW Jaitapur project in Maharashtra.

For mega Special Economic Zones, the land requirement can go up to 5,000 hectares.

Emphasising the importance of electricity in the fast development and progress of a nation, Ms Gandhi said we need to tap various sources for producing electricity.

Work on the second stage of the NTPC station was completed in a record time of only 39 months and is specifically meant to meet the power requirements of the National Capital Region during the Commonwealth Games. The main plant equipment supplied by Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), comprising two units of 490 MW each, feature new units that have been designed for operating at a higher reheat steam temperature of 565 degrees Celsius.

These machines have a better Heat Rate that is expected to result in reduced coal consumption to the tune of 12,000 tonnes per annum per unit. Stage-I of the Dadri project is already producing 840 MW (through four units, each of 210 MW capacity).

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