The ban on sale and purchase of land at and around Gairsen in Uttarakhand, where an Assembly complex is to be built, has been welcomed as a step in saving the hill town villagers and the government from being cheated by land sharks from the plains.

“We have banned sale and purchase of land… until a proper master plan is made and the government acquires the land required for constructing the Vidhan Sabha, other buildings and civic amenities. The business class wanting to develop commercial projects like hotels will be offered land at prices remunerative to villagers. Also efforts would be made to evolve norms for hill-friendly architecture,” Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna told The Hindu on Monday.

It has been planned to lay the foundation stone for Vidhan Bhawan on Makar Sankranti (January 14.) Once the construction was completed, in about two years, one session of the Assembly would be held there in fulfilment of the dreams of Uttarakhandis, he said.

The ban on sale and purchase of land is likely to avert plunder of the hill town, unlike as it happened in Dehra Dun after the State was formed 12 years ago. Land sharks bought almost every square metre of land available within a 10-km radius of Clock Tower there at throwaway prices and are now selling it at exorbitant prices. This also left the government with no land for its own use.