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Rights group raises concern on Assam’s MSME ordinance; FINER demands developed land, KNN India

KNN India
03 July 2020

Guwahati, Jul 3 (KNN) Assam government’s ordinance to allow conversion of land for MSMEs to set up industries on the basis of a self-declaration — without the requirement of any “permission, clearance or licence” for three years seems to have taken a political colour as after opposition, now the Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) has started raising voice against the said ordinance.  

Citing the ordinance as unconstitutional and disastrous for the MSMEs as well as the people of Assam, RRAG on Thursday urged the Governor of Assam Jagdish Mukhi not to give assent to the Ordinance.

“The Ordinance effectively suspends the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act of 2013, the Forest Rights Act of 2006, Chapter X of the Assam Land And Revenue Regulation of 1886, the Environment Protection Act of 1986 and the Biological Diversity Act of 2002, which prohibit certain land acquisition and prescribe the manner in which land can be acquired. There is no provision either in the Constitution of India or these laws to suspend their operation for the purposes of acquiring lands to set up industries,” RRAG director Suhas Chakma said.

Chakma said that this would be disastrous for the MSMEs as their investment would remain stuck up due to the illegality of land acquisition.

”This is equally disastrous for the individuals or communities on whose lands industries will be set up as they will be forced to challenge illegal land acquisition before the courts,” Chakma added.

“Assam needs to follow the laws and not suspend laws to boost investment as such illegal measures vitiate investment sentiment. People want to invest in a safe environment and not in a state of legal limbo,” Chakma asserted.

Meanwhile, reacting over the ordinance, Chairman of Federation of Industry and Commerce of North Eastern Region (FINER), R S Joshi, was of the view that MSMEs not only want land but they want developed land like industrial parks.

”Going for an agriculture land that won’t be appropriate for MSMEs. There has to be shaken balance, we would rather that government develops industrial sets exculisively for MSMEs,” he told KNN India.

”Once they do it, there will be no confusion, developed sets will be available and one can invest and start production at the earliest i.e what we have seen in some part of Tamil Nadu. The same pattern Assam government should follow,” he added.    

As per the ordinance, anyone can set up an industrial unit in the state by submitting just a self-declaration. He or she will not need permission, clearance or licence for three years and the land will also be deemed converted for industrial purposes.

While welcoming the decision, State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Das said that the decision has been taken for the rehabilitation of migrant workers who have returned to the state.

”We need to take measures for the rehabilitation of migrant workers as the possibility of their going back to previous jobs is remote. The provisional permissions will be given only on right lands for the setting up of industries,” he asserted.

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