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Uttarakhand: Right to permit land purchase for new MSMEs, other purposes may soon shift from district magistrate level

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Uttarakhand’s state administration may soon get the rights to permit purchase of land by buyers for setting up MSME units or for agricultural and industrial purposes, according to the report submitted by the committee constituted by the state government to study the land laws in the state. The suggestion was part of the 23 recommendations made by the committee in its report submitted to the state government.

The committee said permissions for land purchase, instead of from the district magistrate currently, should be obtained from the government (secretariat) level akin to the neighbouring state Himachal Pradesh. 

The committee also suggested changes in the land allotment procedure. At present, the state government can allot more than 12.05 acres to an applicant such as an MSME or an individual for various purposes such as industrial, education, health and medical education, horticulture and various processing units, tourism, and agriculture in hills as well as plains, as per the regulation. The committee asked for replacing this to allocate land on the basis of minimum land requirement similar to Himachal Pradesh.

In response to the recommendations, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Monday tweeted the state government will study the report, discuss it in the state cabinet and make necessary amendments to the laws in ‘larger public interest’.

“Necessary steps will be taken so that there is no misuse of land in the state. We will encourage establishment of industries but there should be no indiscriminate sale of land. We will strike a balance between maintaining economic activities and conserving natural resources,” he said. “Stopping investors and buyers from outside the state isn’t my motive,” he added.

The report submitted by the panel noted the “land was being misused for building resorts and private bungalows, making the people in hilly areas landless, limiting employment opportunities for the locals,” said a statement by the CM’s office on Monday.

The committee called for setting up a task force to oversee use of land for the defined purpose and also suggested developing a website for allocating plots for different purposes.

Constituted in August last year by Dhami, the committee was headed by former state chief secretary Subhash Kumar. Its members comprised Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee president Ajendra Ajay and retired IAS officers Arun Dhaundiyal and DS Garbyal.