Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Thursday reiterated that agricultural land will not be acquired for industrial purposes at any cost.

Speaking after laying the foundation stone for the proposed multi-storeyed office complex for the KIADB here, Mr. Shettar said if required the industrial policy would be amended suitably for this.

Stating that he had directed KIADB officials to strictly follow this rule, the Chief Minister claimed that Karnataka had emerged as the most preferred destination for investors in recent years. “Due to the spurt in industrialisation, the demand for industrial land has been increasing,” he said.

“While land value is going skywards both in big cities such as Bangalore and two-tier cities such as a Hubli-Dharwad, it is unfortunate that the availability of land for setting up industries is coming down day-by-day. If this is the situation, the day is not far when we will not have land for any more industries. But industrialisation is a must as it will create job opportunities for our unemployed youth. We are trying to chalk out an amicable comprehensive strategy to protest the interests of farmers as well as the investors who want to set up industries in Karnataka,” the Chief Minister said.

Asserting that his government was encouraging establishment of small and micro industries, the Chief Minister said this sector has been recently given an independent status by creating a separate ministry.

Responding to Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani’s recommendation that KIADB employees be given retirement pension, the Chief Minister said if a proposal was submitted in that regard, the government would consider it.

Claiming that the Global Investors’ Meets (GIM) organised during his government’s tenure had attracted scores of investors to Karnataka, the Chief Minister said several investment proposals had been submitted by companies.

“We have also entered into an agreement with most companies and some projects are at the implementation stage,” he said.

Mr. Nirani said the proposed office complex would be constructed at a cost of Rs. 23 crore.

During its four decades of existence, KIADB had acquired 42,000 acres of land in 136 industrial areas across the State.

More In: Karnataka | National