Government urged to focus on land acquisition for infrastructure projects

One of the main requirements of Coimbatore is better infrastructure and developing it will require innovative approaches from the government to get land for the projects, according to sources here.

Coimbatore District Collector G.S. Sameeran and Corporation Commissioner Raja Gopal Sunkara participated in a consultation meeting on Friday, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, to revise the current Master Plan for Coimbatore.

Several infrastructure projects, including ring roads, logistic hub, health hub, and satellite towns, were mooted at the meeting.

However, all these works require land. A major challenge in Coimbatore is exorbitant land price. The government should identify the land and start acquisition before the rates go up, says K. Kathirmathiyon, secretary of Coimbatore Consumer Cause.

C. Balasubramanian, president of the Chamber, said industrial workers, especially migrant workers, are unable to get houses for rent at affordable prices and in the long-term, this may discourage workers from coming to Coimbatore for work. The industries want the government to provide housing facilities for workers even on public – private partnership model. “If there is infrastructure and better connectivity, Coimbatore’s economy will take off,” he said.

Availability of land is not a problem in Coimbatore. It is the prices that stall projects. There are stretches of dry lands that are converted into plots. A few of these get sold and the rest remain unsold. This leads to larger number of land owners and if an entrepreneur wants to buy a larger plot, the prices shoot up.

Architect Arun Prasad said the government should look at different models of land pooling. This concept took off first in Gujarat. For farmers, land is their only means of livelihood and if it is taken away, they feel helpless. Hence, they do not want to part with the land. The government should look at giving alternative lands or making the land owners shareholders in the development works. Thus, they do not lose the land, have a source of income, and become participants in the development works, he said.

The government should form special purpose vehicles that will bring the landowners together. Another major requirement is mapping and consolidating data of all government land across the district, he said.

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