Coming strongly in support of the State government in the controversy revolving around the Cabinet’s decision to sell land to JSW Steel, Ballari-based Congress leader and Member of Legislative Council K C Kondaiah said that there was absolutely no problem in allotting the land to JSW Steel.
In a media conference in Ballari on Monday, he said that he was surprised to see the statements made by the former Minister H K Patil and H Vishwanath on the issue.
“When the government allots land to government agencies such as Karnataka Housing Board, it is done through lease-cum-sale deed. When the lease conditions are fulfilled, it makes an absolute sale deed as per the rules in force. The same happened with JSW now.
“The Cabinet had, in its January 13, 2005 meeting, decided to give 2,000.58 acres of land to JSW on lease-cum-sale basis for a period of six years at a rate of Rs. 90,000 an acre and the agreement was made on May 17, 2005. As the lease period ended on May 12, 2012, JSW appealed to the government for conversion of the lease-cum-sale agreement into an absolute sale agreement.
“The Commissioner of Karnataka Industrial Development Board and the Director of Industries and Commerce Department through their letter of August 27, 2013 recommended to the government to convert the lease on 2000.58 acres of land into an absolute agreement as the company had fulfilled all conditions and that it had used the land for the purpose for which it was allotted.
“Also, 1,666.67 acres of land was given to JSW on lease-cum-sale for 10 years on October 24, 2007 and JSW requested the government for an absolute sale deed as the lease period ended on October 24, 2017. This being the background, the Cabinet, in its meeting on May 27, 2019, passed a resolution to grant permission for the sale of 2,000.58 acres of land in Torangal and Kurekuppa villages in Sandur taluk in Ballari district for JSW Steels Ltd. at a rate of Rs. 1,22,200 per acre as well as for the sale of 1,666.73 acres of land in Torangal, Musenayakanahalli and Yarabanahalli villages in Sandur taluk in Ballari district at a rate of Rs. 1,50,635 an acre,” he said.
Kondaiah also defended the Cabinet decision stating that JSW had fully utilised the allotted land, planted trees in a big way, contributed to the Exchequer in the form of taxes and provided employment directly to 25,000 people and indirectly to two lakh people.
“Since 1994, as Member of Parliament, and earlier too, I have been watching development works taken up by JSW. Besides agriculture and horticulture, we need industries for the overall development of the area. If there are any dues payable from the company, it could be recovered. JSW has invested Rs. 62,025 crore in its steel plant. It has provided employment to 25,000 people directly and 2 lakh people indirectly. JSW, which started its production in 1997-98, has paid a tax of Rs. 86,561 crore to the Exchequer over a period of 21 years,” he said.