Officials receive less than 500 applications

There is poor response from people to GO 257 issued by the State government for the benefit of those who want to regularise the land they have encroached upon. Less then 500 applications were submitted in Vijayawada (Urban Tehsildar) office ever since the GO was issued on March 29, 2010. The GO 257 was issued as a sequel to GO 166 for regularisation of encroachments on government lands in the State.

The reason for the poor response seems to be apprehensions amongst the potential beneficiaries about being forced to pay market value at the time of regularisation. The rejection of applications to GO 166 is another reason for the poor response. Yet another reason is that information about the opportunity provided under the GO could not go into people, as the ‘official communication' was sent a month after the GO was issued, sources say.

The situation was no better when the government issued GO 166. As many as 7,000 people applied for regularisation of their sites when the GO was issued in February 2008. A good number of these applications were rejected on various grounds. Of this, barely 1,500 applicants were either eligible for regularisation or had the consent of the departments which held ownership of the lands to be regularised.

There are more than 32,000 assessments in hilly areas in the city. The town planning officials of Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) say that major chunk of the families living on hilly areas were encroachers, while some were in possession of pattas issued some years ago.

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

Residence proof

These applications could be rejected once again on various counts. It will be difficult for those leaving on these lands to provide proof of residence. Also, the committee headed by District Collector, which has been empowered to scrutinise the applications, is likely to reject the applications if the land value is high, says CPI (M) leader Ch. Babu Rao.

Moreover, the regularisation will not be free as being claimed by the government, he says. The registration value and stamp duty were not being kept to a minimum as being demanded and were not within the reach of the BPL people.

The deprecation clause (3 per cent per annum) will be applicable only if the applicant is able to produce 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, he says.

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