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Issue of 923.12 acres disputed forest land in Seraikela-Kharsawan, Jharkhand.

Paving the way for a smoother industrialisation process in the Adityapur industrial area (AIA), the Union ministry for environment and forest has de-notified 923.12 acres of disputed forestland in Seraikela-Kharsawan.


Some time ago, establishment of new industrial units and expansion of old ones had come to a halt due to a dispute between Adityapur Industrial Area Development Authority (Aiada) and the state forest department.


Aiada secretary Rakesh Kumar confirmed that the panel had received a letter confirming the de-notification. He added that the department had also completed formalities for de-notification of the remaining 276.97 acres of disputed forestland.


After the de-notification, Aiada has gained rights over vacant land spread over dozen villages in Seraikela-Kharsawan. "We have 50,000 square feet of land that would be provided to businessmen to set up units. De-notification of the remaining 276.97 acres would give further momentum to industrialisation in the AIA," said an Aiada official.


Proposals of more than 200 new industrial units have been in limbo since 2006 due to the forestland dispute.


Despite having cleared the proposed projects, the industrial panel had failed to provide land to the new AIA projects. The authority would now start the process to allot land to new projects in the pipeline.


Besides, the decision has paved a way to the expansion of existing units. Previously, industrialists were not allowed to carry on any kind of construction at their unit since the dispute began.


Forest department officials said that they were yet to receive information on de-notification. "We have not yet received any letter from the Union government on de-notification of forestland," said Dhalbhum divisional forest officer A.T. Mishra.


He, however, said that the proposal for de-notifying the land was sent to the Union government a couple of months ago. "The proposal for de-notifying 1,200 acres of disputed forestland was sent to the Union government after the authority deposited the asset value," he added.


Earlier, the Central Empowered Committee (CEC), constituted by the Supreme Court of India, had directed Aiada to pay the NAV (net asset value) for forestland (276.97 acres) that was acquired by it before 1980.


The panel was directed to restart the de-notification process for 923.12 acres of forestland that was acquired by the industrial panel after 1980.


On Saturday, Aiada gave its clearance to 24 new projects slated to bring investment worth Rs 68 crore to the area. The decision to clear the projects was taken at a combined meeting of Aiada's land allotment committee and project clearance committee.


© The Telegraph / July 6, 2009


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