In a bid to build more affordable homes, the State government is seeking to revive unused industrial land. The State Cabinet has cleared the conversion of industrial zones into residential and commercial ones, and create more jobs in the process.
Chief Secretary Sumeet Mallick told The Hindu , “We’ve cleared the policy under which defunct industrial land could be converted to make residential buildings. The cabinet nod has been given.” The land was allocated to industries under a 1894 provincial law. Since then, many have been inactive or used the land for other purposes. “Many industries have migrated, some were shut down due to complaints from the pollution board. We keep receiving proposals from such owners for donation, sale, or rent of such land,” a State Industries department officer said.
Between 1991 and 2016, the State has approved 19,437 proposals for a total investment of ₹11,37,783 crore. Worst affected are the cooperative industrial estates; of 142 such estates, 35 were found to be dysfunctional as of 2016, official data shows.
According to the new policy, the government will retain 40% of the market cost of the land as a surcharge. Of the construction area, 20% will have to be reserved for the economically weak sections. “We had appointed a committee under the chairmanship of the Finance Secretary to look into the feasibility of this change. The committee had said job creation is possible,” a State government officer said.