Committee on Land Laws submits report to CM
By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 5 Sep: The High Power Committee to study land laws and recommend amendments, headed by former Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar, submitted its 80 page report to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, today. The Committee has focussed its report on preventing misuse of land in the state and to recommend changes somewhat on the lines of Himachal Pradesh. After receiving the report, Chief Minister Dhami said that the state government would amend the land laws of the state in larger public interest after duly considering the recommendations of the committee.
The committee has submitted 23 recommendations to the government, which it claims aim to establish a balance between investment possibilities and uncontrolled purchase and sale of land, in the interest of the state. The chairman of the committee and former chief secretary of the state, Subhash Kumar, the committee member and Badrinath-Kedarnath temple committee member Ajendra Ajay, members former IAS officers Arun Dhoundiyal and DS Garvyal, and the member-secretary, Deependra Kumar Choudhary, met Chief Minister Dhami to submit the report. CM Dhami constituted this committee in July, 2021.
The committee has prepared its report in about 80 pages after in-depth consultation. It had invited suggestions from interested parties of the state, various organisations and institutions. Apart from this, the committee also examined the details of the approvals granted by the district magistrates for the purchase of land given in the state. The Committee has focussed on preventing misuse of land along with increasing investment and employment in the state.
Major recommendations of the committee include making provisions for granting permission for purchase of agriculture land at the state level by the government rather than continuing with the present rule where the authority to grant such permission has been given to the district magistrates. The Committee felt that this rule had been misused as outsiders had built bungalows by purchasing agriculture land, instead of doing agriculture on that land.
The committee also recommended that the permission for purchase of land for micro, small and medium scale enterprises also be accorded at the level of the state government rather than by the district magistrates as is the provision in Himachal Pradesh. The permission should be granted on the basis of minimum land requirement. At present, the state government can give more than 12.05 acres of land to the applicant organisation / firm / company / individual for industrial purposes, AYUSH, education, health and medical education, horticulture and various processing, tourism, agriculture in hills and plains.
The Committee has recommended that this be amended by granting permission to purchase land on basis of minimum land requirement, only, as is the case in Himachal Pradesh.
The Committee further recommended that only 4-5 star hotels/resorts, multi-specialty hospitals, vocational/professional institutes, etc., apart from big industries, be allowed to purchase land on the basis of Essentiality Certificate from the government level. To others, land should be made available only on lease. At present, land purchased for non-agricultural purpose and the SDM and the district administration can declare the land as non-agriculture in 10 days under section 143.
The Committee also recommended that the land should be vested in the state government if it is not used for the prescribed purpose within two years of purchase. If the agricultural land purchased for non-agricultural purpose is declared as “non-agricultural” within 10 days, then it cannot be vested in the state government (in case of violation) under section 167. Therefore, adding a new sub-section, the said land will have to be declared as agricultural land, again, after which it can be vested in the state government.
At present a person can buy a maximum of 250 square metres of land for residential purposes without permission in his or her name, or any member of the family. The committee recommends that the Aadhar card of all the members of the family should be linked with the revenue records to prevent the purchase of separate land in the name of all the members of the family.
The Committee mentions that, for greater transparency, all the process related to purchase and sale, land transfer and ownership should be done online. The entire process should be done through a website in the public domain. On priority basis, land of vacant industrial plots/ closed factories in SIDCUL/ industrial estates should be allotted for industrial purpose. If any land is purchased/constructed for religious purpose, then the decision should be taken at the government level on the basis of a report of the District Magistrate.
The committee also recommends that whenever any new Act/Policy/Land Reforms process is started regarding land in the state, suggestions must be also essentially obtained from the interested parties/people.