Industry can now buy land directly from Karnataka farmers

Industry can now buy land directly from Karnataka farmers

Removing what the industry terms a longstanding hurdle to its growth, the Karnataka government has implemented the amended Land Reforms Act, 1961, that now allows industries to buy land directly from farmers in a big decision to hasten rebooting of the sector maimed by the lockdown. The industries will still be required to seek permission from the revenue department. It will, however, be deemed approved if the deputy commissioner doesn’t raise red flags or clear the application within 30 days. Earlier, industries could get agricultural land allotted only through government agencies

The amendment was notified after the Karnataka governor approved the Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2020, that had been approved by the legislature in March. The April 27 gazette notification repeals the related Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Ordinance 2019. On January 25, chief minister BS Yediyurappa had said the government would amend Section 109 of the Land Reforms Act to facilitate industry to purchase land directly from farmers.

Welcoming the decision since land acquisition was “a major stumbling block”, Devesh Agarwal, president, Bangalore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said this will be beneficial, especially in a post-Covid world, when India looks for opportunities to become an alternative sourcing point to China with global firms looking to de-risk their supply chain. The government was planning the amendment as early as November when it was hoping to attract more investments through a global investors’ meet, sources said. In January, Yediyurappa had said the government would issue instructions to remove all administrative hurdles and facilitate this measure. “A three-year process now takes just about 30 days -- a major reform that we’ve been demanding for long. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been allowing this for a while now. 
We are glad the CM understood our concerns. A lot of credit must go to the principal secretary of commerce and industries department and the industries minister,” CR Janardhan, president, FKCCI, said.

Gaurav Gupta, principal secretary, commerce and industries department, said: “This has been in the pipeline for some time as several neighbouring states did not have such restrictions. At Davos, we heard the industries’ views. This is not a blanket right. Approval is granted for a particular activity, investment, land and other specifics. At the stage of the project approval, the government would look into whether the land required for the project has restricted use, or is allowed for industries and so on.”