What is the difference between agricultural land and arable land?
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So also, suppose an industrialist buys a plot of land to set up a factory. As of the moment of buying the plot it is designated as “agricultural land”, and is in use, can be ploughed, sown into, and hence “arable” as well. Now, he applies for converting the status into “N. A. land” – non-agricultural, and eventually, since by law it is allowable to covert agricultural land into non-agricultural for industrial purpose subject to certain conditions, the land does become “N. A”. He builds a factory on part of it, and keeps a part for future use. This kept aside part is arable, but is no more designated as agricultural. Thus you could have this as arable, but not agricultural.
Let us take an example – Suppose a plot of land has been traditionally used for agriculture for many years. It could accumulate a lot of salts due to excessive irrigation. Over the years, the salinity may become so high, that it can no more support the growth of crops. It would then become very hard soil, difficult to plough, and eventually will be a wasteland from a crop cultivation point of view – no more “arable”. However, unless changed by the concerned departments, it could continue to be designated as “agricultural”.
Hence, sometimes, a plot may exist as agricultural land but could be unsuitable for cultivation and hence need not be arable.
So also, a plot designated for use for industrial purpose (N. A. – non-agricultural) could be non-agricultural, but could be arable.
Agricultural land is more of a legal position/documentary position. Thus, a plot that is designated for use for agriculture according to land records is ‘agricultural” land. Some parts of it / often large or all parts of it could be actually unsuitable for agricultural purpose.