Massive corruption in allotment of land plots by Gujarat govt.: Congress

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Gujarat Congress chief Shaktisinh Gohil on June 16 accused the State BJP government of massive corruption and irregularities in the allotment of land plots by the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) in Dahej and Saykha industrial zones.

In a press conference on Sunday, Mr. Gohil, sharing government documents, said that the GIDC — the nodal agency for the industrial development in the State — is allotting lands at a subsidised rate of ₹2,845 per square metre in Dahej instead of holding auction which can fetch up to ₹10,000 per square metre.

“Dahej is a highly developed zone with all the infrastructure and other facilities. Two years ago, Asian Paints had purchased lands at ₹7,000 per square metre plus transfer fees, stamp duty and other expenses. But GIDC is now allotting lands at mere ₹2,845 per square metre, thus causing massive revenue loss to the public treasury,” Mr. Gohil said.

“The GIDC has already made allotment of more than five lakh square metres plots at ₹2,845 per square metre and it is planning to allot nearly two million or 20 lakh square meters lands in Dahej and Saykha at the same rate,” he said, suggesting revenue loss of more than ₹1,500 crore to the State treasury. 

According to him, in April 2023, GIDC had invited applications from those seeking land plots ranging from 20,000 to 60,000 square metre in the chemical zone in Dahej. It had received a tremendous response from the participants. Then all applications were rejected in July 2023 and Dahej and Saykha GIDC estates were declared ‘saturated’ zones where plots can only be auctioned. A Government Resolution (GR) was brought out declaring the zones as saturated. 

“Suddenly in February 2024, the GIDC board reversed its earlier stand and another GR was brought out declaring both zones as unsaturated, where the allotment can be done based on applications without auction. This U-turn by the GIDC board which functions under the industries department smacks of corruption,” Mr Gohil said, sharing with media persons copies of both GRs. 

“Besides the GIDC management, industries department, who else are involved in the scam? By not auctioning the land plots, the GIDC officials are causing massive loss of revenues to the state treasury,” he added. 

Mr Gohil contended that the GIDC officials are “taking money” from the industries in return of allotment at subsidised rates. “It’s a case of money laundering in which the GIDC and Industries department are causing revenue losses to the exchequer while indulging in corruption.” 

Dahej is located in Bharuch district and is hub of mega industrial factories and complexes, mainly chemicals and petrochemicals. It’s a coastal area with infrastructure like effort treatment plants, pipelines, water and port infrastructure for import and export of materials and finished goods. 

It may be noted that demand for plots in Dahej chemical zone is massive due to its locations, infrastructureand also due to shortage of land there as many existing plants want to expand while new players want to set up their facilities there. 

Mr Gohil contended that the State must auction the land plots to attract maximum revenue for the State since entire infrastructure and other facilities have already been built in the region. 

He added that that if the GIDC is set up in some remote or rural location, then it can justify not auctioning the plots but Dahej is already a developed region and there is not need to make land allotment based on discretion and subsidised. 

“In the year 2022, GIDC had conducted auctions of plots in chemical zone in Jhagadia and Panoli GIDC estates where base prices were fixed at ₹6,000 and ₹7,500 per square metre respectively. The auction was successful and all plots were sold immediately. At that time, allotment rate of Jhagadia GIDC was at ₹1,660 per quare metre and for Panoli, it was ₹2,180 per square metre while in auction, the plots were sold at above ₹6,000 for Jhagadia and for Panoli above ₹7,500,” he said while sharing details of auctions and prices. 

“You cannot have double standards for the same region. Jhagadia and Panoli are also in the same region. Why auction plot there and not in Dahej and Saykha,” he asked. 

The State government has not responded to Mr Gohil’s allegations of revenue loss and irregularities by the GIDC. 

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