August 13, 2016 1:09:02 am
The Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) had actually raised the cost of land within SEZ and non-SEZ areas under its command for the Multi-modal International Hub Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) project, for which it is a nodal agency, sometime before floating international tenders for food, agro and herbal parks in the non-SEZ area.
This was done to make up for the “notional” loss MADC would suffer due to sale of the land to prospective bid winner at a low base price of about Rs 25 lakh per acre in the area where the going MADC price was Rs 1 crore for industrial units.
The increase effected in all categories like industrial, residential, residential plus commercial, and commercial is about 15 pc, as confirmed by MADC MD Vishwas Patil.
Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, pioneered by Yoga guru Ramdev, was allotted 230 acres of land for the proposed park after the company remained the only technically qualified bidder in the third round of tenders due to non-receipt of response from any other players. Patanjali had quoted five per cent more than the base price and will thus be liable to pay about Rs 26 lakh per acre for the land. When seen against the backdrop of the going rate of
Rs 1 crore, this means Rs 170 crore less to the state exchequer. And hence the increase in price for all future land sales.
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Asked about the price rise to recoup the losses due to rebate to Patanjali, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told The Indian Express, “MADC being a company can’t subsidise land cost. But we must understand that food processing hasn’t progressed well as an industry anywhere in the country despite detailed policies. The only food processing industry that has succeeded is that of Ramdev. That is why there was across the board support to his unit at Haridwar from political parties. And we had floated international tenders in all prominent national newspapers. Since Patanjali is the only group that has agreed to fulfill conditions like purchasing Rs 100 crore worth of agro and herbal produce from Vidarbha and train 1,000 farmers from the state in progressive agricultural practices and unit must be started in one year, it went on to win the bid. So, we must look at this allotment in proper perspective. So, given the fact that there was a monetary cost to this allotment and that it wasn’t legally possible to subsidise it, it was decided by a committee headed by Urban Development Secretary Nitin Karir that we will have to use the cross-subsidy way to formalise the arrangement. And that’s why the increase in price now.”
“And mind you, he promised to come to Nagpur despite offers of free land from Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. We convinced him that he will have a great advantage at Nagpur in the event of GST regime and Nagpur’s future as cargo hub of the country,” Fadnavis further said.
Asked about the inherent problem with the argument that “nobody would come to set up a food park if we don’t offer any rebate in land cost, that it would make land purchase all the more unattractive proposition in investment-starved MIHAN for any companies in future, Fadnavis said, “in future, if we find that land cost is causing any such problem, we can always reduce the price.” The CM added: We already have a policy to give land to automobile companies at lower prices. We also return their capital investment 100 pc in ten years. Similarly, we need to promote food processing industry to help farmers realise good prices for their produce. That’s why concessions should be given to the food processing industry as well.”
Giving the example of Dabur, Fadnavis said, “It procures oranges from US, paper from Nepal and has only offices in India. It doesn’t help our farmers in any way. Patanjali’s model has helped local farmers. And at Nagpur, he has promised to bring investment up to Rs 10,000 crore, double that of his Haridwar unit.”
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