According to government sources, the decision has been taken in view of the MoUs signed by the state government during the vibrant Gujarat investment summit in January 2005.
These include a proposal by Godrej Agrovet Ltd (Rs 200 crore) for their oil palm development project in South Gujarat, BK Goenka & Associates (Rs 200 crore) for developmental farming of cotton with hi-tech in total area aggregating 10,000 hectares, National Agricultural Co-Operative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) for Cultivation of Jatropha on waste land project (Rs 30 crore) in Kutch or North Gujarat, Maxo (India) Pharmachem Pvt Ltd for Manufacturing bio-fuel from Jetropha (Rs 35 crore) in Navasari district, Gujarat Oliochem Ltd for Wasteland development and bio-fuel (Rs 10 crore) in Bharuch, Aaditya Aeromadic & Bio Energies Pvt Ltd for bio-diesel from non-edible oil seeds (Rs 5 crore) in Navasari and Ganesh Foundation for integrated project of cultivation, processing and packing of horticulture, floriculture and medicinal plants (Rs 34.20 crore) in North Gujarat.
All the companies were awaiting the governments clearance for wasteland acquisition to kick-off their projects.
A top secretariat official revealed, "Big industrial houses like Reliance, Tata and Essar have shown keen interest to purchase large chunk of wasteland from the government. In fact, Reliance has successfully developed a mango-tree cultivation project in a large wasteland area near Jamnagar refinery with the help of modern agro farming technique."
The state presently has 188 lakhs hectares of land. Of which 18.65 lakh hectares land is forest, 19.84 lakh hectares is under cultivation, 25.99 lakhs is non-agricultural wastelands and rest of the land is utilised for other purposes.
According to state governments decision, the industrial houses will have to use modern technology such as drip irrigation, sprinklers and create water harvesting facilities. In fact, micro-irrigation facilities have been made compulsory for the parties.