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IDCO move to regularise wrongful use of land: HC notice to Odisha govt

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Jan 30:

The Odisha High Court today served notices to the state Chief Secretary, Industries Secretary and CMD Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) to reply within four weeks on a petition filed before it challenging IDCO’s circular allowing regularization of land that had been allotted for industries but was being used for other purposes by paying a nominal fee.

Odisha High Court
Odisha High Court

A division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Amitav Roy and Justice Dr Akshya Rath issued the notices today while adjudicating on a petition filed by Siva Sankar Mohanty challenging the IDCO circular allowing regularization of land allotted for industries for other uses and directed Chief Secretary, Secretary Industries and the IDCO CMD to file their replies within four weeks as why the circular should not be quashed.

The petitioner had contended that the circular issued by IDCO on October 24 last year allowing regularization of land that had been allotted for industries at concessional rates but was being used for social infrastructure projects such as hotels, multiplexes and educational institutions was in violation of the IDCO Act. The petitioner stated that using land allocated for industries for any other use was totally illegal. The petitioner has prayed for squashing of the circular.

According to the circular, IDCO has fixed different rates for change in land use pattern from the industrial sector to social infrastructure projects such as hotels, multiplexes and educational institutions.

The norm makes it clear that if people want to transfer land for educational institutions, hospitals or health services, they would have to pay 1.5 times the prevailing market rate. To transfer the land for hotels, multiplex, leisure and entertainment establishments, IDCO has categorised the users by dividing them into four categories – A (developed), B (developing), C (semi-developed) and D (underdeveloped).

In zone A, outside the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) limits, the industrialists will have to pay two times the prevailing land rate to use it for other purposes. But, in the corporation limits, the plot owners are required to pay 2.5 times the prevailing land rate. In the zone B areas, one has to pay 1.5 times the market rate, but in the C and D zones, they will have to pay the regular market rate.

The IDCO circular was issued after a meeting of its board of directors in October, which decided to allow industries to use the land for other purposes following an audit report that land taken for setting up industries were being used for running kalyan mandaps, hostels, godowns for car spare parts, educational institutions, cement godowns and car showrooms in the industrial estates across the state.

In Bhubaneswar city, 521 industrial units were allotted 219.732 acres in four industrial estates – Rasulgarh, Mancheshwar, Chandaka and Bhagabanpur – at concessional rates.

A physical verification by the authorities had revaeled that of the 521 plots, 20 were used to set up hostels, four for hotels, 188 for godowns and another 144 were given on rent for other purposes. Another 165 plots were equally misused.