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Pharma City plan hits land hitch Pharma City plan hits land hitch

Jan-16-2015 | 0 Comments


HYDERABAD: Confusion over the extent of land available is proving to be a road block for Telangana government's proposed Pharma City at Mucherla in Ranga Reddy district.

When chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao conducted an aerial survey on December 3, 2014, it was estimated that over 20,000 acres of government land was available in and around Mucherla. Of this, the government earmarked 11,000 acres for the Pharma City, which could house scores of pharma companies and lead to the creation of nearly 70,000 direct and indirect jobs.

However, while the land survey is yet to be taken up in right earnest, a preliminary report submitted to the government last week by the revenue department stated that the available government land in and around Mucherla is not more than 2,000 acres.

"This estimation is based on old records which have not been validated. Most of the land is occupied by private parties out of which some are legal as the owners hold patta while vast tracts have been encroached," said an official in the revenue department.

This apart, a vast tract of forest land and the land given to Deccan Infrastructure and Land Holding Limited (DIL) for housing purpose are also included in the estimated land.

Following the chief minister's aerial survey, the official said, the survey department conducted a preliminary survey by electronic total station (ETS) instrument according to which government land available in Mucherla stands at 1,623 acres in addition to 286 acres of assigned land that is mostly vacant.

In their report, revenue officials suggested a thorough re-survey so that the government could identify the encroached land and take it back. The report also said that it was important to identify the forest land since a large part of it was included in the initial estimation.

A fresh land survey, however, is unlikely to take off at present due to paucity of funds. "The fresh land survey across the state is necessary. The government decided to conduct it as early as July when we announced the scheme of free distribution of farm land to dalit households. But it was delayed to due to lack of funds," said Mahmad Mahmood Ali, deputy chief minister, who holds the revenue portfolio.

While the state government had requested a grant of Rs 600 crore for land survey from Centre, only Rs 80 crore was released. Mahmood Ali said his government was in touch with the Centre and it was likely that the re-survey would be taken up in March.

On their part, pharma industrialists are seeking clarity on land mobilization as they do not want to get entangled in legal problems later.

"Addressing land issue is always the tougher aspect of execution of any project. We are suggesting the government to simplify the process and acquire the land required. For the proposed Pharma City, 6,000 acres is more than enough, so why create complications by going in for more than the required land?" said K Laxma Reddy, vice-president of Synthokem Labs Pvt Ltd, which is an active member of Bulk Drug Manufacturers Association (India).

The government, however, has different plans. Mahmood Ali said apart from accommodating the pharma companies, the Pharma City would have a pharma university, clinical research centers, R&D centres, townships for employees apart from effluent treatment tanks.

"To meet all these requirements, we need more than 11,000 acres. The government will clear all the hurdles and the Pharma City project will soon be grounded," he added.

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