The central government has shut more than 2,400 industrial development zones in its national crackdown on the rampant malpractice of converting farm land for industrial purposes, official media reported yesterday. The move was also part of the government's efforts to stifle an overheated real estate sector. Sun Wensheng, the minister of land and resources, told a national meeting yesterday that the crackdown, launched in August, had succeeded in curbing local authorities seizing farm land to set up industrial zones. The government had investigated more than 6,015 development zones and parks with a combined area of 3.54 square kilometres. Of the total, it has shut 2,426 and merged 294 zones, China News Service reported yesterday. Mr Sun said the power of approving land use has also been removed from local authorities. He said that over the past four months, the government had investigated more than 168,000 cases of land use malpractice. However, he warned that the central government was still faced with a grave situation to regulate land use properly. He said some local authorities still ignored the central government's directives and continued to approve the conversion of farm land to other purposes. Corrupt local officials conspired with developersto set up luxury residential developments that no one bought.