Contradicting his government, Minister for Industries and Commerce Chander Prakash Ganga on Wednesday ruled out reviewing the controversial New Industrial Policy-2016, which allows non-locals to acquire land on large scale in JK for setting up industries.
"It (policy) has not been put on hold…the government has implemented it," said Ganga in the Legislative Assembly while winding up the discussion on the demand of grants for Industries and Commerce Department.
The minister's statement invited strong criticism from the opposition National Conference, which targeted the PDP-led government for "making a sellout for the chair".
"Your government spokesman Naem (Akhtar) Sahab is on the record saying government has put the policy on hold. You are saying the policy has been implemented. Please tell the House who is speaking the truth," National Conference's Ali Muhammad Sagar asked the minister.
The new Industrial Policy, which was approved during the Governor's rule, has run into controversy over the clauses which allow non-State subjects to get on lease the State/proprietary land for 90 years for setting up industries anywhere in JK. Under the policy, for the first time, the non-state subjects can set up their business units outside the Industrial Estates. The policy is also silent on the upper ceiling of the land that can be leased out to a non-local.
Responding to Sagar's query, the Minister said the Government spokesman had told the media that the Government would revisit the policy.
"When Naem Sahab came to discuss the policy with us, we cleared to him that the policy has been framed in consonance with the State Land Grants Act. He (Akhtar) was satisfied with the department's response …the policy has been implemented," the minister informed the House. "There may be some misconception. The government hasn't harmed the Article 370 by implementing New Industrial Policy. Don't make it an issue."
The Minister's statement is however in contradiction to the government spokesman's statement during the press conference on May 11 when he had said that there were "certain things" in the policy that needed to be reconsidered.
Taking on the Industries Minister, Sagar said: "It is not the question of satisfying the government spokesman but instead addressing the concerns raised in the House and protecting the special status of the State. This policy is in contradiction to Article 370."