Entrepreneurs, who have been facing inordinate delays in acquiring land for setting up industries, can now heave a sigh of relief. The State government is adopting measures to reduce the number of steps to be followed for acquiring land for industrial businesses.

Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee, who first focussed on instilling punctuality among the nearly six lakh government staff, has now turned his thoughts to simplifying agricultural land purchasefor industrial purposes by private entrepreneurs.

Mr. Mukherjee, who saw a lot of visitors waiting at the offices of the deputy commissioners, tahsildars and nada kacheris, asked IAS officer Annies Kanmani Joy, attached to Mysore district, to conduct a quick survey to find out why people visit Hunsur taluk office and Ilvala nada kacheri office in the district. Ms. Joy, in her report, informed Mr. Mukherjee that she had collected sample information from 100, 300 and 146 visitors during the three-day survey. Of the 100 visitors, 70 had come for ration card-related work at a counter set up by the Department of Food and Civil Supplies, six for work related to land, five for electoral IDs and three for farmer- related problems. Other queries included change of names on cards and issue of new ration cards. There were some calls seeking an appointment with the deputy commissioner on land-related issues such as encroachments, title disputes and law and order problems arising out of land issues. Aadhaar number-enrolment related queries were also received.

This led him to constitute a high-level committee, headed by Principal Secretary (Revenue), to study the need to simplify land acquisition procedures under Section 109 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, involving purchase of private agricultural land from an industrialist. The heads of Department of Survey and Settlement and others are on the committee. Mr. Mukherjee found that the procedure was lengthy and the files had to move to various departments.

He also questioned the need for a private land sketch in the procedure as it takes more than a year to prepare. “Why should the municipal corporation concerned and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board give ‘no objection certificates’ to the entrepreneur for purchasing private land,” he asked. He felt such things could be done away with. He also questioned the rationale behind asking people to produce caste and income certificates every year. “Why should they be forced to visit government offices again and again. It is a waste of energy and money and obstructs government work too,” he said. In stead, if the validity period of caste and income certificates are enhanced to five years, a lot of congestion in the offices could be reduced, he said.

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