Jolted by farmer agitations over the acquisition of their land, the union government has asked the states not to allow industries on farm land, but instead to work on creating an industrial land bank of waste and fallow lands, leaving aside productive land.
At the first conference of state industry ministers in New Delhi, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma proposed that the centre and the state governments should work together on preparing guidelines for creation of the land bank.
''Farmers should not be victims of industrialisation. They should be partners in the process,'' Sharma said in his address to state ministers. "Use of farm land for industrial projects should be the last resort," he added.
Interestingly, the industry ministers of Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa - the states that have witnessed the most local agitation over land acquisition by the government for industrial purposes - were not present at the meeting, though they were represented by senior officials.
Arcelor Mittal's proposed projects for setting up steel plants in Orissa and Jharkhand and Korean steel major Posco's plans of entering Orissa are held up due to land acquisition problems. Tata had to shift its base for manufacture of its budget car Nano from West Bengal to Gujarat due to agitation by farmers in Singur.
Sharma said some states like Tamil Nadu have established good practices in respect of planned industrialisation which merit consideration by other states. The minister added that attractive relief and rehabilitation packages have to given to people whose land is acquired for industrial purposes.