Gurgaon will be a world city soon

Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in an interview with Sweta Ranjan

sweta-ranjan

Sweta Ranjan | November 23, 2010




Bhupinder Singh Hooda is one of those leaders who have a 360-degree understanding of politics and governance. He was a member of the Lok Sabha for four terms, leader of opposition in the Haryana assembly for one term, and now he is in his second term as chief minister. In this interview with Sweta Ranjan, Hooda discusses his plans for industry as well as agriculture in his state. Excerpts:

Haryana has done the country proud in the Commonwealth Games. Players from Haryana bagged 15 of India’s 38 gold medals. What is the secret behind this success?
Haryana’s sports policy is very different and that is why our players have done well in the CWG. There are three reasons. First: good infrastructure. In the last four-five years we have provided good infrastructure even in villages. We have constructed 171 stadiums. Haryana is a small state but it has more than 350 stadiums. We are making a boxing stadium in Bhiwani. The second key factor is that we run a talent hunt programme called ‘play for India’. We invite children from the age groups of 8-14 and 14-19. We judge them on a sports and physical aptitude test (SPAT). Those who get 75 percent marks win scholarships.

In the last five years we have given direct recruitment as DSPs (deputy superintendents of police) to 11 players including boxer Vijender Singh and the members of the women’s hockey team. Three percent jobs in Haryana police are reserved for sportspersons.

Those (from Haryana) who have won gold in the CWG will get Rs 15 lakh each, silver winners will get Rs 10 lakh each and the bronze winners will get Rs 5 lakh. Their coaches too will get Rs 3 lakh, Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1 lakh in the three categories.

Gurgaon is a jewel in Haryana’s crown but its infrastructure leaves much to be desired. Did the government allow private real-estate developers to run away with windfall profits instead of holding them accountable?
Not at all. Old Gurgaon has some problems but not new Gurgaon. The new master plan is very systematised. We have tried to improve the existing infrastructure too. We are improving the transport system. We are getting buses and connecting this mode of transport with the (Delhi) metro. There used to be different agencies for road maintenance but now the whole job has been assigned to a single agency. Gurgaon will become an international city in a few years.

Yet, Gurgaon has the image of a swanky city, while the rest of Haryana seems neglected. 
No, I don’t agree. When I came to power in 2005, Haryana was 14th among the states in per capita investment. Today, it is number one. These are Planning Commission figures. In per capita income, it is next to Goa. Haryana is witnessing not only industrial growth but also agricultural development. Education is also important. We have got a qualitative change in education. Employment opportunities can come easily but the youth also need to be made employable.

Why is the power supply scenario in the state so dismal?
We have set up four more plants to provide electricity to all the villages, towns and industries. Haryana was formed in 1966 and yet in 2005 when the Congress came to power, the state was generating only 1,587 MW of electricity. When I took over in March, 2005 the total power availability was 4,031 MW. Only one plant was set up in 40 years but in four years we have set up four more plants that will add 5,000 MW. Power demand has been growing by 10 percent a year, the total electricity demand today is 6,000-7,000 MW, most of which we buy at high prices from other states. But with the new power plants we will be able to solve the power crisis.

Traditionally, Haryana has not been known as an industrial state. It has seen some industrial development only due to its proximity to Delhi. How do you propose to make it more industry-oriented?
We propose to form an industrial estate in each district because landholding is shrinking. If the grandfather held 10 acres of land then the grandson is left with just half an acre. They can’t survive on that small piece of land. Industrialisation will bring in opportunities. Industry will also provide balance against agriculture. In five years Haryana will become an education hub of not only a national level but international stature.

Being a leader of the farmers, what response do you get when you talk of industrialisation?
In Haryana, people are aware that industrialisation brings jobs. Unemployment is a major issue that we need to tackle as landholdings are shrinking. As I explained, if the grandfather had 10 acres, the grandson is left with just half an acre. That is too small a piece of land to sustain a family. Industrialisation brings job opportunities for such people who cannot depend on land any longer.

Haryana’s model of land acquisition is being cited as a rare success. How do you view this policy?
We are still working on improving the policy to give more benefits to the farmers. But the current policy is the first – may be in the world – which has a provision for annuity for those whose lands are acquired.

How does this provision work?
The farmers get the compensation based on the market value of the land acquired. Along with this we also give annuity for 33 years. Along with full compensation we will give Rs 15,000 per acre for each year for 33 years – this amount will go up by Rs 500 every year. If the government acquires land and gives it to a private developer, then he has to pay Rs 30,000 per acre per year and Rs 1,000 enhancement every year. Moreover, there is a provision of giving farmers small plots at alternative sites so as to secure their future. The farmer also gets residential plots ranging from 75 yards to 350 yards. In case of an SEZ (special economic zone), 25 percent of jobs created are reserved for the affected people.

How will annuity help farmers?
It gives them some stability because if an old farmer’s land is acquired the money will continue to reach his children. The old man depends on his children. With annuity, the old man will feel confident and secure.

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