Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ryots to turn ‘partner in development’

Ryots to turn ‘partner in development’
Besides Compensation Or Job, State Will Allot Landowners One Acre To Develop
The TImes of India

Bangalore: Fearing landowners’ opposition could stall the first dream satellite township planned to decongest Bangalore at Bidadi, the government is working on a rehabilitation package that could be the model for the country.
The package will be used for all the five townships proposed to be built by the Bangalore Metropolitan Area Development Authority (BMRDA) to decongest Bangalore. The focus of the package, to be presented in two weeks time, is —the 2,500 families whose lands are being acquired at Bidadi are to be treated not as the usual ‘land losers,’ to be doled out compensation, but integrated in the township as ‘partners in development.’
The plan is, besides compensation and/or a job, give an acre of the land acquired from the landowner to him, and help him develop it to the maximum potential. A section of the 9,000 acres being acquired for the Bidadi township will be reserved for agriculture, while the rest will be commercial, residential and industrial.
“But once we acquire the land, we cannot give the same back to the landowner, as it defeats the very purpose of acquisition. We are trying to see what can be done,” metropolitan commissioner Sudhir Krishna told The Times of India.
To circumvent, land may be given in another part of the project area. But taking into account land-owners’ sentiments, there is also a move to give the land-owner a long-term lease on one acre of his own land and teach him to develop it.
The government is in consultation with corporates like General Electric and ITC to seek if linkages with them can help land-owners develop their one acre to such an extent that the yield quadruples or quintuples. For example, if a farmer is getting Rs 30,000 a year per acre as maximum yield in ragi, plans will be put in for better and intensified agriculture methods, change in cropping pattern and supplementation with horticulture crops and dairy, with the specific aim of increasing yield to Rs 1.5 lakh per acre.
“The livelihood of the landowner and his family is protected and the loss of land is compensated. He also gets as hefty a compensation as is possible per the market rates,” officials said. The state is looking at linking up contract farming and marketing of agriculture products at Bidadi. Provision of forward and backward linkages, similar to the agri-food parks, is expected to ensure boom in the economy and keep land-owners happy.
CM gives his assurance
CM H D Kumaraswamy assured a group of Bidadi farmers, who met him on Tuesday, that their interests would be kept in mind when their land was acquired for the first satellite township. To the farmers’ contention that land was already worth Rs one crore per acre in their area, CM said: “All that is possible only if there is development in the area. We are planning to reserve 40% of the land for agriculture purposes itself. I have asked the officials to keep in mind your welfare.’’


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