The Assam Cabinet’s decision to completely relax land use norms supposedly for rapid industrialization has triggered all around concern and it is heading for huge face off between government and the indigenous people.
The State Cabinet had on Monday evening approved an ordinance to ‘boost industrial sector’ scrapping the requirement for permissions to set up a new industry in Assam.
Hailing the decision as historic and far-reaching, the State’s Transport, Industry and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said the government has paved the way for anyone to set up industry just by submitting a self-declaration.
“No permission, clearance or license will be required for three years. Land will also be deemed converted for industrial purpose. Such bold and advantageous change is expected to accelerate the industrialization process in Assam,” he said.
On the face, this is a welcome move but this policy decision has a great significance as almost all the areas of Assam are now open for sale as Government was not clear whether any environmental clearance or village clearance will be needed or not for setting up any industry.
“This [ordinance] is disastrous with a capital D,” said former Union Minister and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, not ruling out the possibility of the government giving away land in protected and restricted areas under tribal councils.
Senior Advocate Niloy Dutta said that this ordinance was the most anti indigenous decision this government had taken opening up the entire state for the non indigenous to take over. “Let this government reject the Clause VI committee and take this decision. This was the primary unanimous recommendation of the Clause VI committee that land must be in the jihad of the indigenous people and it will not be transferred. But this government has virtually opened it for sale”.
The AASU Adviser Dr Samujjal Kr Bhattacharya also criticized the decision and termed it as 100% anti indigenous people. “When Clause VI committee clearly and unanimously recommended that no land sale should be permitted, this new ordinance in the name of industrialization will take way all the crucial land from the hand of indigenous people” said Dr Bhattacharya and added it would not allow the ordinance to come into effect.