Karnataka Govt to Review Sale of Jindal Land Deal; BJP to Sit on Dharna in Protest
Caught in a row over the controversial Jindal Steel land deal, chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said that the sale of the 3,667 acres would be reconsidered.
File picture of HD Kumaraswamy.
Bengaluru: The government of Karnataka came under severe criticism after the cabinet approved the decision to execute an absolute sale deed of the land it had leased out to JSW Steel to set up a facility in Toranagallu of Ballari district.
In a cabinet meeting on June 5, it was agreed up on that since the company had leased the land for over 10 years, it would be handed over to the firm as part of an already agreed sale deed. The Opposition has, however, raised the ante alleging that the land is being sold at a throwaway price as the government is receiving kickbacks for the same.
BJP state president BS Yeddyruppa accused the government of taking a commission and said it was eager to go ahead with the deal. “They have taken a decision in the cabinet to sell more than 3,667 acres. We are against that. If necessary, we will sit on a dharna after three-four days," he said.
The BJP state unit had threatened to go on a two-day dharna starting from June 13, but with the BJP high command calling for an all-state presidents meet in Delhi on the 13th, the Dharna has been re-scheduled for June 14 at Mourya Circle in Bengaluru.
Meanwhile, in damage-control mode due to growing pressure on the government, chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said that the sale of the 3,667 acres would be reconsidered.
"I have discussed the sale of land to Jindal with deputy chief minister G Parameshwara and industries minister K J George. I have instructed to reconsider it and place it before the cabinet once again for discussion," Kumaraswamy tweeted.
And it’s not just the BJP, the government also had to pay heed to the Opposition brewing from within, with senior congress leader HK Patil raising his voice against the deal. In a series of tweets and letters to the government, Patel had raised objection to the cabinet’s decision and had accused the company of indulging in illegal mining.
He also claimed that the value of land had increased many-folds, which would cause losses to the state. He even raised the issue of unpaid dues by JSW Steel towards state-run Mysore Mineral limited.
What is Jindal Land Deal Controversy?
Back in 2006, the then JDS-BJP lead government had allotted land to Sajjan Jindal-controlled JSW Steel in two installments of 2,000 acres and 1,666 acres in Karnataka's iron-ore belt of Bellari-Hospet.
As per the MoU, the lease-cum-sale of the land was to be converted into an absolute sale deed after 10 years. The price agreed upon was Rs 1.22 lakh and Rs 1.50 lakh per acre, respectively, to buy the two land parcels. JSW Steel has so far deposited Rs 18 crore and would be asked to deposit the difference in the amount.
The company has since then set up one of its biggest steel plants, Vijaynagara Steel Works, which generates 12 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). The company is looking to raise its production capacity further and has also recently invested an additional Rs 600 crore in setting up a paints plant there.
According to the letters written by HK Patil, the value of the land at current market rate could be anywhere close to Rs 1.5 to 2 crore per acre.
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