Land nowhere but allotted by SIDCO to industrialists taking hefty amount

Corp officials fail to give possession to allottees
Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, Nov 3: Incredible it may sound but the bitter reality has come to the fore that Small Industrial Development Corporation (SIDCO) made allotments of land to scores of industrialists in new Balol Industrial Complex for setting up new units where no such land exists or encroached upon by many influential people and the nomads.
Official sources told the Excelsior that many people who intended to establish their units in this proposed 522 kanal new Balol Industrial complex, adjoining Bari Brahmana Industrial complex, and paid huge money to the SIDCO authorities about one and half year back, have failed to get the possession of the land. The real fact is that SIDCO has yet to acquire that land and they have already made allotments and even given site plan of the plots to the allottees for the plots which are still `non-existent’.
These startling revelations exposed the sorry state of affairs in the Department of Industries and Commerce and J&K SIDCO, after Director Industries and Commerce, Jammu flashed a Letter No. DI&C/ M&P/J/ 1008/656 dated 14-10-2019 to the Principal Secretary to Govt, Industry and Commerce, regarding transfer of 522 kanals land to I&C Deptt at Balol Industrial complex, seeking his immediate intervention. It has also been requested by the Director I&C in the letter to direct the Deputy Commissioner, Samba to get the encroachments removed from the said land and take necessary measures for the transfer of this 522 kanals of land to the Department.
Interestingly, the acquisition process of the reclaimed land at Balol (Bank of Balol Khud) was set in motion by the J&K SIDCO on the directions of the then Minister for Industries and Commerce, Chander Parkash Ganga on August 13, 2016 wherein the matter was taken up with the DC Samba for preparation of revenue documents of 200 kanals of reclaimed land along Balol Nallah adjoining Phase -II Industrial Complex Bari Brahamana.
The SIDCO raised bunds along the Nallah and also made some roads and spent nearly Rs 3 crores for so called development. But after few years, it was found that huge chunk of land was grabbed by some influential people in connivance with the Revenue officials and raises structures and some large portion was grabbed by nomads (Gujjars).
The Director in her letter mentioned that SIDCO has already allotted/ earmarked plots to some units, in some cases even lease deeds were executed after clearance from the Single Window Committees. Out of this land, Revenue authorities Samba have allotted 3.5 kanals of land to PDD for construction of receiving station while this site has already been allotted to an industrialist. The peculiar situation has been created.
The sources further said that this serious issue was discussed in a meeting held on August 6, 2019 in presence of Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Deputy Commissioner Jammu and Samba, MD SIDCO, MD SICOP, Director Industries and Commerce Jammu and other concerned officials. It was seriously observed that 522 kanals of land at Balol was yet to be transferred to the I&C department/ J&K SIDCO while allotments have already been made. The Director I&C Jammu in a letter to the Deputy Commissioner Samba on August 26, 2019 placed a formal indent for transfer of 522 kanals of land at Balol.
Deputy Commissioner, Samba Rohit Khajuria when contacted said the area which J&K SIDCO claims being developed is basically State land. No proper procedure of land acquisition was adopted before developing Industrial complex. If they do not have land there, then why they allotted to the people intending to set up units. If they have done something wrong, they have to pay the price for it.
The DC said he has not received any request from SIDCO about transfer of land. A large portion of that land near Balol has already been encroached upon. They started process three years back and if that land belonged to them, why they did not protect it, the Deputy Commissioner remarked.
Managing Director, J&K SIDCO, Ravinder Kumar, however, claimed that this process of land transfer was started few years ago. He has taken over as MD recently. He said the allotments were made perhaps during the period of Dua Sahib or earlier. The SIDCO executed some works at Balol site and raised bunds there. Many plots have been allotted and the process of transfer of land is going on. As and when the land is transferred by DC Samba, it will be handed over to the allottees, he said.
The MD further said that he himself has taken up the issue with the Deputy Commissioner Samba. When asked why allotments were made by SIDCO when they had no land, the MD said during his period no such allotment was made. He admitted huge encroachment on Balol land and said that help of District Administration is being sought to remove the same.
Lalit Mahajan, president Bari Brahmana Industries Association when contacted said that they had taken up the issue vigorously with the MD SIDCO and Director Industries Jammu as well. Mahajan said over 70 people have been allotted land at Balol Industrial Complex by SIDCO. They have made huge payments to the Corporation and also to some middlemen. The allotments have been made, site plans given but for seeking physical possession of land, they are moving from pillar to post. They are feeling cheated. Even in a few cases lease deeds have been executed by misleading judiciary.
He demanded high level probe into the matter as why allotments were made when there was no land. He gave reference of M/s Rise India unit to whom allotment was made on 1-5-2018 and Solar Packaging Industry 24-01-2019. He said dozens of such allottees have approached the Association for the help. The matter was also discussed with Principal Secretary, Industry and Commerce who has given assurance to settle the issue, Mahajan said.