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Andhra Pradesh to come up with new policy for land acquisition

POLICY DISCUSSION: (From left)The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy; the Union Minister for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Mr S. Jaipal Reddy; and the CII President, Mr R. Seshasayee, at the inaugural session of Suminfra 2006 in Chennai on Thursday. — Bijoy Ghosh

Chennai , Aug 3

The Andhra Pradesh Government will shortly come out with a policy for land acquisition, the State's Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, said on Thursday.

Delivering the keynote address at Suminfra 2006, a conference on `sustainable PPPs in infrastructure' organised here by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Dr Reddy said the need for the policy was felt after the Government experienced several difficulties in acquiring land for its Hyderabad outer ring road project.

He said land prices shot up exponentially after the Government started buying — from around Rs 5 lakh to as much as Rs 14 crore. As a result, those who sold the land initially felt short-changed. The Government recognised this as a genuine heartburn and is trying to address the issue, mainly by making the landowners partners in the development.

Dr Reddy noted that only about 40 per cent of the land acquired was actually used for infrastructure. The rest was used as commercial space. A part of the developed land, may be 10 per cent, could be given back to those who originally sold it.

The Chief Minister said a lot of land was required for creating Special Economic Zones within the State and the new policy, which would be announced within ten days, would help making land acquisition easier.

The Union Minister for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Mr Jaipal Reddy, who delivered the inaugural address, said there was no alternative to public-private-partnership for infrastructure development in India.

"We sometimes delude ourselves into believing that foreign investors are knocking at our doors. They aren't," he said, observing that India had to compete for foreign investment with other countries.

Rs 1-lakh crore investment

He said the Union Government had set up Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Infrastructure Development Fund, which would invest Rs 50,000 crore over a six-year timeframe in infrastructure. Various State and municipal governments would together mobilise a similar amount over the same time. Therefore, over the next six years, at least Rs 1 lakh crore would be invested in infrastructure, the Minister said.

Pointing out that India had a long coastline, Mr Reddy urged the governments of southern states to "take full advantage of the unique geographical feature" and put up ports along the coast.

Earlier, Mr R. Seshasayee, President, CII, said the idea behind the infrastructure summit was to effect a "cross pollination of ideas" so that one learnt from the others' experience.

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