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Fresh trouble brews for Reliance fresh in Punjab

Aug 30, 2007 09:11 PM IST Business Business

New Delhi: Fresh hurdles for Reliance retail, after problems in UP and West Bengal, the new battleground is Punjab. The government won't give it land at the promised prices. The Punjab government seems to have snatched away Reliance retail's promised land. Sukhbir Singh Badal, acting chief of the Shiromani Akali Dal, says his government simply cannot give Reliance retail land at rates set by the previous government. So, Reliance will have to buy the land at market rates. Badal said, “A company that wants to come to Punjab must buy land at market rates. The Congress government has given village and commercial land, like in Mohali. This is worth Rs 100 crore but it's been promised at Rs 2 crore.” Welcoming Reliance retail's Rs 500 crore investment, the previous government, under Captain Amarinder Singh, had promised to give Reliance retail 163 acres of land in Goindwal sahib - land that belongs to the State Industrial Development Corporation. A nursery and a warehouse were to be set up on this land. But a new government came with new plans, and Reliance did not get the land because the government now wants to set up an SEZ there instead. Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal said, “We won't acquire land for anyone. Whoever needs to purchase land should do so at market prices.” “The SEZ policy is the decision of the Indian government and we are going to support it. We welcome SEZ in Punjab,” Sukhbir Singh Badal said. Badal says his government has no problem with Reliance retail outlets. But he insists that the party buying the land must pay market prices. And this condition could mean Reliance retail may never see the promised land.