The department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) in the ministry of commerce and industry has offered over 8,386 acres of its idle land which is not being used for the stated purpose of salt cultivation to other central ministries so that it could be utilised for industrial and other productive purposes. “We have offered the land, which we are not using, spread across eight states to all the other central ministries on transfer basis,” a senior government official said. Under the general financial rules, land could be transferred on no-profit-no-loss basis to other central ministries, while such transfer to PSUs or state governments should be on payment of market value. Transfer of these land parcels to private parties is prohibited.
“It (transfer) will be done internally through the policy guideline of the DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion),” the official added. In 2012, DIPP had formulated internal policy guidelines for transfer of salt pan land owned by the government of India through the office of the Salt Commissioner for public purposes. The guideline mentions that the land used for salt production and related activities, as a rule, shall not be transferred to any agency and DIPP would take decision in the matter based on the inputs from the Salt Commissioner.
At present, the country has around 6.16 lakh acres of salt producing land. The government via the DIPP owns about 68,337 acres of salt pan land out of which 59,951 acres are under salt production in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Haryana, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. India is world’s third largest producer of salt after China and the USA with an average annual production of 240 lakh tonne.
By Surbhi Prasad