E-auction of lands in Visakhapatnam draws flak

Prime property: The 13.59 acres of land on Beach Road that was earlier given to Lulu group for setting up a mall by the TDP government. The land was taken back by the YSRCP government and is now going to be auctioned.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

The e-auction of lands in Visakhapatnam by National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) under the Mission Build A.P. of the State government, has drawn flak from various sections.

Among other land parcels, the auction of 13.59 acres on Beach Road has drawn maximum criticism, as it is same land that was given to the Lulu group by the earlier TDP government and was later taken back by the YSR Congress Party government, after they had come to power in 2019.

The NBBC, has proposed ₹1,452 crore as the reserve price for the land, which comes to around ₹107 crore per acre.

Various political parties in the opposition say, while the present State government has set a good base price of around ₹107 crore per acre, the earlier government had given it for peanuts. But they also criticise the idea of monetisation of assets or land.

“The property in question is government land and ultimately belongs to the public. Monetisation of public land is not a good idea, as it should be kept for posterity or used for public development,” said CPI (M) State secretariat member Ch. Narasinga Rao. Just because the government is cash-strapped due to its welfare schemes to retain the voters, land and assets cannot be monetised to fund the schemes or pay interest on loans taken, he said. Assets, including land, can be monetised but the revenue generated should be invested for public development and not for paying interests on debts. This could push the government into a debt trap, said former secretary to GOI E.A.S. Sarma.

The State government intends to raise about ₹1,500 crore through auction and the lands to be auctioned in Visakhapatnam are 13.59 acres in survey number 1101 on Beach Road; 0.20 acres in survey number 27-49 in Aganampudi with reserve price of ₹1.30 crore; 0.30 acres in survey numbers 27-49 in Aganampudi (₹1.95 crore); 1 acre in survey number 38-4 (plots 2A/2B) in Fakirtakiya (₹2.33 crore); 1.93 acres in survey numbers 100-9 in Fakirtakiya, 11 bits of 0.10 acres (₹0.43 crore each), another bit of 0.83 acres (₹3.66 crore), and 0.35 acres in survey number 100-5 in Fakirtakiya (₹1.47 crore).

CRZ violation

The 13.59-acre land parcel on Beach Road falls under Coastal Regulation Zone-II (CRZ -II) and the land has ecological significance. “This land comes wrapped with restrictions under the CRZ Act and cannot be privatised and public cannot be excluded,” said Mr. Sarma.

Even giving it to Lulu group itself was illegal, he added. According to Mr. Narasinga Rao, the government was planning to auction land parcels in Aganampudi, when still two villages are yet to get the rehabilitation package under Visakhapatnam Steel Plant land acquisition. It has been three decades and house sites are yet to be given to 95 families of Karanavanipalem and 24 families in Sanivada villages, in Aganampudi, under the R&R package. “Instead of giving them the land, the government is planning to sell land over there,” Mr. Narasinga Rao alleged.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 5:35:17 PM |

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