Karnataka: Industry can buy land directly from farmers

Removing what the industry terms a longstanding hurdle to its growth, the Karnataka government has implemented the amended Land Reforms Act, 1961, which 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 through Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board.

The amendment was notified after the governor approved the Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2020, that had been okayed 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, 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 . “Removal of impediments will enhance our competitiveness,” he added.

“A three-year process will now take just about 30 days — a major reform that we had been demanding for long. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been allowing this for a while now,” said CR Janardhan, president, Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI). He added that this would help industries set up new facilities and create more jobs faster.

Gaurav Gupta, principal secretary, commerce and industries department, said: “This had been in the pipeline for some time... 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.”

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