TT, Siliguri, July 13: The state government has taken up with the railways the land lease issue that the utility withdrew to a tea park, representatives of the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA) said today.
A meeting would be held soon with the railways where the SJDA would request the central utility to reconsider its plan to terminate the lease of the land provided to the SJDA on which the tea park has been built.
“The railways had sent a letter mentioning that they intended to cancel the land lease to the tea park that is located close to the New Jalpaiguri station. We had responded to it and also, the chief secretary had communicated with the railways,” said Sourav Chakraborty, the chairman of the SJDA.
“It is an important and unique project which has immense potential for private investment. We believe around Rs 2,000 crore can be invested here by stakeholders of north Bengal tea industry,” he added.
“We will soon sit for a meeting with the railways, asking them to reconsider their plan of cancelling the land lease. Such a decision would be a deterrent to the growth of the tea industry. The state government and the SJDA do not want to see this project being stalled because of such a decision,” Chakraborty said.
In October 2007, the SJDA had taken a plot of 84 acres on lease from the railways against Rs 10.22 crore. The SJDA built the basic infrastructure at the park.
It also divided the area into plots and so far, 152 plots have been distributed among private investors and one plot has been allotted to the Tea Board which opened a quality control laboratory in January this year.
However, a problem cropped up which discouraged most of the private investors from starting their projects.
“The SJDA has the authority to sub-lease the plots but the names of the sub-lease holders have to be approved by railways. The railways had problems with some clauses in the sub-lease agreement which has been taken care of and the document was sent to the railways back in 2013 but it has not returned the document to the SJDA till date,” a source in the SJDA said.