Assam’s move to convert land for MSMEs draws flak

Assam Transport, Industry and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary.

Assam Transport, Industry and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

The State Cabinet had on Monday evening approved an ordinance to ‘boost industrial sector’

Opposition parties in Assam have panned the Assam government’s move to convert land for industrial purpose to give a boost to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the State.

The State Cabinet had on June 29 evening approved an ordinance scrapping the requirement for permissions to set up a new industry in Assam.

Hailing the decision as historic and far-reaching, the State’s Transport, Industry and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said the government has paved the way for anyone to set up industry just by submitting a self-declaration.

“No permission, clearance or licence will be required for three years. Land will also be deemed converted for industrial purpose. Such bold and advantageous change is expected to accelerate the industrialisation process in Assam,” he said.

The government, however, was not clear about whether environment and pollution norms would be relaxed for entrepreneurs who express willingness in setting up MSMEs.

“This [ordinance] is disastrous with a capital D,” said former Union Minister and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, not ruling out the possibility of the government giving away land in protected and restricted areas under tribal councils.

“We condemn this atrocious decision. It is an anti-people and anti-farmer policy besides inviting disaster for the biodiversity of the State. These corporate-driven policies will undoubtedly pave the way for the loot and plunder of rich natural resources of the State by big capital and multinational companies,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Ishfaqur Rahman told The Hindu.

Referring to the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2020, he added that the ordinance was in keeping with the Narendra Modi government’s bid to dilute existing environmental regulations in the name of ease of doing business.

The All India People’s Science Network, comprising 40 organisations across the country, had on June 29 issued a statement underlining the “catastrophic” EIA notification. The Assam-based Ellora Vigyan Mancha, which promotes rationality, said the EIA of 2006 needed amendments based on good scientific considerations and not on the lines of the Environment Ministry’s proposals.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 8:29:02 AM |

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