W. Chandrakanth

It allows possession of the assigned lands It paves way for taking possession of assigned lands sold by original allottees to others

Hyderabad: The Government is caught in a bind over the implementation of the ordinance promulgated on November 7 paving way for taking possession of the assigned lands sold away by the original allottees to others after 1977.

Though the ordinance provides for takeover by declaring that such a sale is `null and void,' it prefers to be cautious in implementing it for fear of political fall-out.

Political colour

A controversy is already raging as politicians have jumped into the fray lending a political colour to the move.

While this debate is continuing, the fact remains that at least 1,089.22 acres of assigned land in Hyderabad district is lost to land grabbers and there are 425 cases pending with the Land Grabbing Court in this regard. In Ranga Reddy district, which is witnessing an unprecedented boom in real estate boom, 322 cases are pending involving 3,368.31 acres.

Twist in the tale

There was initial opposition to the clause that provision in the ordinance for resale of such lands for `public purposes.' But the controversy took a twist with Government sources leaking information selectively about deals involving transfer of assigned lands.

The Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Karmika Sangham has since been demanding that the Government act impartially and take possession of such lands in the larger public good. The list released by it mentions 8,700 acres as grabbed and also lists 90 key public, industry and real estate figures as responsible for the same.

A public interest litigation was filed in the High Court (writ petition no.14795/05) pointing out that influential persons had grabbed land worth over Rs. 50,000 crores in contravention of the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Assigned Lands (Prohibition of Transfer) Act, 1977.

Sources admit that the Government can ward off criticism from political quarters to some extent if it acts impartially bringing erring players to book though the takeover itself may lead to endless litigations.