Only eight percent of the 804 industrial projects across India have been stalled because of land acquisition problems, an RTI query has revealed. The findings debunk official claims that many projects are in the limbo as the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendments) Bill, 2015 has not been enacted yet.
According to information received by RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak, as of February this year only 8.2 percent or 66 of the total 804 projects have been halted due to problems in acquiring land. Of these, 29 are government projects and 37 are private.
The reason for stalling over 150 projects was marked as “others” in the RTI, not explaining what it means. For over 120 other projects, data was “not available”.
Around 95 or 11.8 percent of the projects were thwarted due to lack of clearances (non-environmental), while at least 97 or 12 percent were stalled due to unfavourable market conditions. Around 85 or 10.5 percent were struck because of lack of funds and over 90 or 11.1 percent were delayed due to lack of promoters’ interest.
The Economic Survey 2014-15 presented in parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in February had a complete list of stalled projects – in the public and private sector – across the country.
Delhi-based activist Nayak sought details of the reasons why the projects were still hanging.
According to the response by the finance ministry’s department of economic affairs, the projects stalled due to land acquisition problems are worth over Rs.1,10,000 crore. The data showed that merely around 30 projects were halted because of lack of environmental clearances.
Fuel, feedstock, raw material supply problem and natural calamities were also cited as reasons for halting projects. There seemed to be more projects for the elite as compared to those dedicated for the poor and marginalised.
Nayak told IANS that 75 projects were about building hotels and resorts, 34 about posh residences, 28 about shopping malls and five were about constructing multiplexes, among others.
A road-widening project in Bengaluru, four irrigation projects in Jharkhand and a campus each in Haryana and Delhi were among those projects stalled due to land acquisition issues.
Overall, the projects are about power generation, airport construction or expansion, road and railway expansion, pharmaceuticals, textile and software sectors, among others.
Nayak told IANS that the largest chunk of 125 projects were from Maharashtra, followed by 63 in Gujarat, 55 in West Bengal, 52 in Karnataka and 52 in Telangana.
The maximum number of 12 stalled projects due to land acquisition problems were also from Maharashtra, followed by seven in Gujarat, six in Jharkhand and five each in West Bengal and Karnataka.