Bhubaneswar: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), upset with arbitrary land allotment policy of state-run Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco), has suggested a comprehensive land allotment policy for industries.
In a letter to Chief Secretary G C Pati, state Accountant General (AG) Amar Patnaik has mentioned about 714 applications from industries requesting for land allotment being rejected by Idco without citing any reasons.
Out of total 714 rejected applications, 72 were suspended without any reason while 45 applications were either cancelled or dropped. The auditing agency has suspected partiality in allotment of lands by the state agency.
For example, the AG said, land was allotted to GMR Energy near Kamalanga in Dhenkanal district for setting up of a power plant, although the same piece of land was earlier recommended for Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC), a state PSU, by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). Idco had ignored the claim of a government agency and chose to allot the land in favour of a private entity just because it had signed an agreement with the state government for the power project.
The CAG official listed out several other cases of rejection in the letter and suggested that Idco must submit a report mentioning the reasons for its denial as it would be submitted to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the state assembly.
The CAG has been pointing out irregularities in Idco land allotment policy for past couple of years starting from non-revision of land lease rate to allowing industries to avail loan from banks with the allotted land as mortgage. Last year, it had highlighted how several small and medium industrial houses have misused the land allotted to them.
According to information furnished to the state assembly last year, Idco has so far allotted 5,130.23 acres of land to 4,297 small and medium industries in 106 industrial estates, out of which 1,656 units have not utilised the land for the desired purpose.
As far as large industries are concerned, Idco has allotted 19,774.692 acres of government land and 34,447.876 acres of private land to 94 MoU signed companies and 133 non-MoU projects. The government has defended its land allotment policy and has maintained that because of its transparent and friendly policy, large projects such as those by Essar Steel, Jindal Steel, VISA Power, GMR, Vedanta, Aditya Aluminium and Utkal Alumina could be grounded in the state.