GOVERNMENT OF WEST BENGAL
Land & Land Reforms & Refugee Relief & Rehabilitation Department
Land Policy Branch
Nabanna (6th Floor)
325, Sarat Chatterjee Road, P.O- Shibpur, Howrah- 711 102
No. 3816-LP/3T-14/15(Pt-I) Date: 28/11/2019
Subject:- Tea Tourism and Allied Business Policy, 2019
A proposal to allow unutilized and fallow land in the tea gardens allowed to be retained under section 6(3) of the West Bengal Estates Acquisition Act, 1953, in the districts of Uttar Dinajpur, Alipurduar, Coochbehar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong to promote eco-friendly tea tourism and allied business activities has been under active consideration of the Government.
Now, the Governor, after careful consideration of the matter, is pleased to announce the Tea Tourism and Allied Business Policy, 2019 in modification of the Tea Tourism Policy notified vide No. 3362-LP/5M-10/2012 dated 17/07/2013 and Notification No. 665-LP/5M-10/12 Dated 4th March 2015. The policy is aimed at generating enhanced investment and employment opportunities for sustainable and inclusive economic development by way of effective utilization of vacant/ surplus land in Tea Gardens without any curtailment/ compromise in area under tea plantation. The salient provisions of the Policy are as follows:
1) Tea garden will be allowed to utilize 15% of the total grant area subject to a maximum of 150 acres for tea tourism and allied business activities.
a. Out of this allowable area a maximum of 40% can be used for construction activities in conformity with extant Rules and Regulations and provided the proposed activity is in harmony with the ecology and the environment.
b. The allowable business activities shall include Tea Tourism, Plantation, Animal Husbandry, Hydro Power, Non-Conventional Energy Resources, Social Infrastructure and Services. An illustrative list of activities under above broad categories may include tourism resorts, wellness centres, schools, colleges, universities medical/ nursing colleges, hospitals, cultural/ recreational & exhibition centres, horticulture, floriculture, medicinal plants, food processing units, packaging units etc.
2) Each proposal shall be examined on case to case basis by a Screening Committee constituted as follows:
i. Chief Secretary to the Govt. of West Bengal- Chairman
ii. ACS/ Principal Secretary of ICE Department- Member
iii. Principal Secretary Labour Department- Member
iv. Principal Secretary L&LR and RRR Department – Member
v. Principal Secretary, Tourism Department – Member
vi. Principal Secretary, Agriculture Department – Member
vii. Principal Secretary, Environment Department – Member
viii. Representative, Tea Board- Member
ix. Two Representatives of Tea Associations- Members
x. Joint Secretary/ Special Secretary, ICE Department – Member-Convenor Representation from Forest department, Public Works Department, Power & NES Department, Animal Resource Development Department or any such relevant department shall be co-opted in the Screening Committee as member on case to case basis as required in terms of the proposal.
The department of Industry, Commerce and Enterprises will act as Nodal Department.
3) This is further subject to strict compliance of the following conditions/ guiding principles:
a. There shall be no reduction in the area under tea plantation and no retrenchment of existing labour force engaged in Tea Garden.
b. Implementing new project should no way harm the existing ecology of the area and shall have to be in strict compliance of environmental regulations.
c. Employment from new project must be generated in a manner that 80% of local people get opportunities and are absorbed. Preference shall be given to the wards of the workers of the concerned tea garden.
d. No alienation of land of local resident’s especially tribal land without due process of law shall be allowed.
e. No land under forest cover or recorded as forest shall be used for any of the above activities except with due clearance of the competent authority.
4) Other allowable provisions that may facilitate in formulation of the project:
i) Amalgamation of adjoining area- Land required for any project may be amalgamated with adjoining outside area of tea estate.
ii) Shifting Labour quarter- For the purpose of project and to get contiguous land, existing labour quarter may be shifted, reconstructed with modem buildings as per extant building Rules and Regulations.
5) Lease Procedure
If the company owning tea garden by lease proposes to undertake alternate business activity or activities as prescribed, either by itself, or through or a joint venture company or SPV where the lessee has majority share no resumption under sub-section (3) of section 6 of the West Bengal Estates Act, 1953, will be required.
In the event of the lessee becoming a minority shareholder in any joint venture company or SPV, land shall be resumed and settled in favour of the entity on payment of salami and land revenue as prescribed under the Land Allotment Policy of the government.
The lessee or its SPV or the JV company can enter into a Development Agreement with any such other entity having expertise in implementation, execution, management of the project(s) provided the obligation for compliances in respect of lease and other land related conditions shall remain with the lessee.
Tea gardens can make use of existing guest houses/bungalows with necessary renovations, if required, for temporary accommodation with due approval of the Land & Land Reforms Refugee. Relief & Rehabilitation Department. This area under renovated existing guest house/bungalow will not be considered within prescribed limit of one or more business. However in case of such use the lessee shall be required to obtain requisite clearances including certificate of conversion of land from the competent authorities.
6) The lessee either himself or as a Joint Venture Company or SPV as the case may be, shall apply before the Collector of the district with all details as per the application as annexed. Collector after required verification shall forward the proposal with specific views/ recommendations to the Member Convenor of the Screening Committee. The Screening Committee shall examine the proposal and place before the Standing Commit of the Cabinet on Industry, Infrastructure and Employment for consideration. The Industry, Commerce and Enterprises Department shall be the Nodal Department for processing, scrutiny and issuance of necessary approvals.
7) After approval an agreement will be signed by the applicant with the Collector of concerned district on behalf of the State Government.
8) After signing of agreement the applicant will have to start the project within 3 years from the date of agreement failing which the approval shall be cancelled.
9) This memorandum is issued in supersession of memorandum no. 3362-LP dated 17.7.2013.
By order of the Governor,
Principal Secretary to the
Government of West Bengal