'Bengal can have quasi-judicial regulator for land acquisition'

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 07, 2013 16:00 hrs

Kolkata, Jan 7 (IANS) Eminent economist Pranab Bardhan Monday opposed the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government's land acquisition policy and suggested it form a quasi-judicial regulatory body for the acquisitions.

"In many parts of the economy, regulatory commissions are set up. For example, telecom has a regulatory commission; stock market has a regulatory commission. Land (acquisition) is another sector where there should be a quasi-judicial body.

"Land has become such a problem area and there should be a separate land commission," Bardhan, a former professor of economics from the University of California, Berkeley, told reporters on the sidelines of a workshop organised by the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) here.

Asked about the Banerjee government's land policy in the state, he said: "I do not support buying land neither by the state, nor by the market. That is why I said there should be an independent land policy."

Pointing out that the current policy of the state would only lead to rise in transactional cost for industries, the noted economist observed that the state government should reconsider the existing land policy.

Leading chambers of commerce and industrialists have repeatedly been expressing their resentment over the state government's land policy which decrees that the state has no role to play in land acquisition for industrial projects, and that entrepreneurs need to buy it outright from land owners.

Bardhan said the state was lagging behind in terms of industrialisation as it had failed to bring industries unlike other states.

Expressing his concern over the Banerjee government's opposition in giving special economic status (SEZ) status to industries, he said: "I wonder why the state government is creating issues with SEZ. It is a policy implemented by the central government."

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