Rajasthan Government is misusing public land in the name of industry promotion

The organisation also has no information about their own industrial areas which are sitting on 1,540 acres of land in the state

Rajasthan State Industrial and Investment Corporation Limited was established in January 1980. The main functions of RIICO are to provide contemporary infrastructural facilities and services to the entrepreneurs and allot public land for economic development of Rajasthan. However, the organisation has failed to meet its intended objectives.

In 2011, a Comptroller and Auditor General of India report found that between 2005 and 2010, the organisation planned to develop 26 industrial estates having a land area of 8,986 acres equivalent to more than 8,000 football fields. Further, the CAG reported that there was a delay of 12 years by RIICO in developing 12 industrial units having 2,445 acres of land. Additionally, 2,159 acres of land acquired by RIICO between 2005 and 2009 was not developed into industrial areas.

The corporation failed to take the possession of 2,014 acres of land despite paying the compensation amount of ₹ 117 crore to local landowners. As on March 2005, 8,224 acres of land was lying unused in 24 industrial areas across the state manifesting the abject failure of the Rajasthan government to effectively use public land. RIICO also failed to provide to basic infrastructure facilities such as street lighting, water supply, and quality roads in industrial areas, which affected the industrial growth in the state.

RIICO misused the land they acquired in the name of industrial development. From 2005 the land under litigation or encroachment held by RIICO increased from 260 acres to 651 acres in 2010. The value of the encroached land went up from ₹8 crore to ₹83 crore. The organisation also has no information about their own industrial areas which are sitting on 1,540 acres of land in the state.

Read More:Misuse of Public Land under Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board

If a private company owned such huge tracts of land parcels, wouldn’t it protect them from encroachments and develop it for use? Only a government agency can afford to own huge tracts of valuable land and it be encroached upon and even forget that it owns the valuable land.

There were extensive irregularities involved in the allotment of land to companies for setting up industries. In 2006, RIICO allotted 10 acres of land to United Breweries Limited in the Chopanki Industrial Area (Bhiwadi II). The land was reserved for hospitals, parks, and roads but was diverted for the noble purpose of brewing beer. RIICO sanctioned the plot for ₹1,000 per sq. m. However, the prevailing rate was between ₹1,590 per sq. m. and ₹1,800 per sq.m. This led to the loss of ₹1.36 crore to Rajasthan taxpayers.

In 2007, RIICO allotted 25 acres of land to a company in the Patherdi industrial area in without mentioning the fact that the land was under litigation. The company could not undertake any industrial activity on the land.

Further, RIICO allotted 30 acres of land to Orient Craft Limited to set-up industry. However, the company did not set-up anything on the allotted land while it received undue favours of ₹85 lakh by receiving an upfront rebate.

These are just a few examples of irregularities happened in land allotment by RIICO. The inefficiencies in the functioning of RIICO has always been the case irrespective of which government is in the power.

Irregularities at RIICO shows how bureaucrats working in the name of development misuse public resources for their personal gains. In the first place, we don’t even need industrial development corporations like RIICO if we have a regulatory environment conducive for doing business. Organisations like RIICO only waste public resources which could have been used much more efficiently for the economic development of the country.