Apprehension that authorities may insist on market value for regularisation of encroached land

The GO 257 recently issued as a sequel to GO 166 for regularisation of encroachments on government lands in the State, seems to offer “little benefit” to those it is meant for.

There are apprehensions that the encroachers living below the poverty line, to whom an opportunity is sought to be given to get lands regularised, would be forced to cough up market value of the land, failing which their applications would be rejected.

As many as 7,000 people had applied for regularisation of their encroachments and issuance of pattas when GO 166 was issued in February 2008. Most of these encroachments were revenue lands. A good number of these applications were rejected on various grounds, and pattas were issued to only about 2,000 people.

The Government now proposes to regularise the encroachments on irrigation lands as well. The opposition parties allege that the applications of people living on irrigation lands and canal bunds were rejected in the past.

These applications could be rejected once again on various counts, including lack of proof that they have been living on those lands. Also, the committee headed by district Collector, which was empowered to scrutinise the applications, could reject the applications if the land value was high, says CPI (M) leader Ch. Babu Rao.

Moreover, the regularisation would not be free as being claimed by the government, he says. The registration value and stamp duty were not being kept minimal, and were not within the reach of the BPL people. The deprecation clause (3 per cent per annum) would be applicable only if the applicant is able to produce a proof that he has been living on encroached land. Getting such proof is not easy, as neither property tax is levied on encroachments nor it is easy to get an electricity connection, says Mr. Babu Rao.

Earlier there were allegations that the State government tried to collect market value of land while issuing pattas to the people living on hill slopes. CPI city secretary K. Subba Raju says that the BPL families, according to GO 166, need not pay any amount for the land if the government issues pattas.

But the revenue officials had issued notices to the people living on hill slopes asking them to pay market value, though they all belong to BPL category.

The Government, Mr. Subba Raju says, is handing over costly lands to corporate institutions and private people at throwaway prices. But the land rates fixed for the poor are not within their reach. The fixing of land price for people living on hill slopes and those living on plains equally too is not justified, he argues.

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