‘Some companies that got land at a cheap rate are selling it at a higher price making crores of rupees’

A three-member committee of senior officials at State-level will be asked to inquire into the allotment of 22,000 acres of land in and around Visakhapatnam, Chairman of Pubic Accounts Committee of AP Legislature R. Prakash Reddy has said.

Addressing a meeting of the committee with officials after a two-day visit on Wednesday to look into the objections raised by CAG, he said instance of some of the companies that got the land at a cheap rate selling at a higher price making crores of rupees came to light during the visit. Some not starting their operations was also giving rise to doubts.

Action would be taken from the government side for a comprehensive probe to safeguard public properties, Mr. Prakash Reddy said.

He wanted the district administration to send an interim report on the issues that came to light during the two-day visit. It would be taken up for discussion in the monsoon session of the Assembly to pave way for stronger laws for allotment of land.

Mr. Prakash Reddy directed representatives of the Hinduja power corporation to submit a comprehensive report to the district administration on the permissions obtained from the local bodies, papers relating land mortgage, details of employment provided to the displaced, ex gratia paid to those who died while on duty and power allocation, with supporting documents. Several members wanted the construction work to be stopped until then.

The committee found fault with the allotment of VUDA land to applicants claiming to be D-patta-holders without involving the Revenue Department. Similarly, those who have given land should have been provided 1,800 sq yards at the same layout but not at the other areas.

The Chairman directed that with regard to certain allotments also transactions and registrations should be stopped.

Members were of the view that several companies started work recently keeping in view the PAC visit. They also expressed unhappiness at Brandix India Apparel City getting land at throwaway price promising employment to 60,000 persons and giving jobs to only 18,000 till now. Members said Ramki Infrastructure also got land at a cheap rate but sold at a high price earning huge profits.

An official release said the committee lauded the work being done by District Collector Lav Agarwal and VUDA Vice-Chairman Kona Sasidhar in exposing the designs of the companies defeating the purpose for which land was allotted.

Member Devineni Umamaheswara Rao wanted steps to be taken so that 75 per cent of power generated by Hinduja would be allotted to the Andhra Pradesh.

PAC members B. Durga Prasada Rao, G. Jayapal Yadav, K. Kannababu, Vasireddi Varada Rama Rao, V. Bhoopal Reddy, N. Ch. Rajappa and T. Bhanu Prasada Rao, Mr. Lav Agarwal, Mr. Sasidhar, Municipal Commissioner B. Ramanjaneyulu and Gajuwaka MLA Ch. Venkatramaiah participated.

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