Special Correspondent

Industries Minister V. Vaithilingam says no decision has been taken yet

Pondicherry: A. Anbalagan (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), A.M.H. Nazim and S.P. Sivakumar (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) registered strong protest during question hour in the Assembly on Wednesday against the Government's "move" to dispose of the lands in Industrial Estates owned by Pondicherry Industrial Promotion Development and Investment Corporation (PIPDIC) in Mettupalayam and Sedarapet to private entrepreneurs. Raising the issue, Mr. Anbalagan said that the Government was acquiring fertile farmlands at very low price and was disposing the sites to private entrepreneurs. This was a highly objectionable trend. He said the Government should drop its plea idea to sell the sites to industrialists.

Mr. Sivakumar said that the pity was that the entrepreneurs, who were buying the sites from the PIPDIC, were only dealing in real estate business. He said if the entrepreneurs did not want the sites, they could return or surrender them to the corporation. The members said land was available only on limited scale in Pondicherry and in the circumstances any whimsical approach on the part of the Government would only cause hardships to the farmers.

Earlier, the Industries Minister, V. Vaithilingam, told the members that no decision had been taken on the issue. He said the Government would never let down the farmers as their welfare was of paramount importance.

Mr. Vaithilingam said a committee constituted in the past under the chairmanship of an official had pointed out then that it was not necessary to sell the sites to industrialists. He contended that the decision was made according to the situation that was prevailing then.

This irked the members, who said that in what way a different situation would have changed now and said no sites of either the Government or the corporations should be sold to private players.

Intervening the members the Speaker, R. Radhakrishnan, said there should be no debate on presumptions, as the Government had not taken any decision.