New Delhi– Land acquisition continues to be the biggest hindrance in the country’s economic growth as land ceiling laws delay key infrastructure projects, an official of an industry lobby said on Monday.

“Infrastructure development holds the key to economic growth but some of the issues are standing in the way of fast-track development of infrastructure. Land acquisition continues to be one of the critical areas standing in the way of doing business,” said K.K. Kapila, co-chairman of the national committee on transport infrastructure of Ficci.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) said states need to be encouraged to remove land ceiling laws on land acquisition and create land banks of non-cultivatable land, which may be spread across state boarders, for setting up industries.

“Other issues delaying projects include environment clearances by states and different authorities concerned. Land acquisition issue should be resolved within the stipulated 30-45 days and environmental clearances on projects given on priority. These corrective measures will help fast-track the projects as well as give the right signal to the international community,” Kapila said.

Expressing concern over the slow pace of ongoing infrastructural and developmental projects due to decision paralysis and unwarranted disputes, the industry body official said that investments of crores of rupees of both the government and the contractors are held up on account of these disputes.

“Mechanism for quick resolution of disputes needs to be put in place. The recent amendment in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, making it mandatory to decide the issues within a prescribed time frame, is a step in the right direction. More needs to be done to ensure fast-track resolution of disputes,” he said.

“There is also a need to establish a single window for all construction-related approvals,” Kapila added.

Registration of property should be moved to an online system and e-stamping across states be adopted, he said.

“There is also a need to establish more Debt Recovery Tribunal or Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal for high-value cases,” he added.

The industry body suggested setting up of a committee comprising representatives of central vigilance commission, comptroller and auditor general, ministries of law, road transport and highways and the National Highways Authority of India.

“The committee should be empowered to take decisions across the table, and its decision should be final and binding. This will help resolve disputes and fast-track the projects,” Kapila said. (IANS)