Andhra Pradesh

Land scams in Vizag dent confidence of investors

Hot topic: Digitisation of land data is the need of the hour, say stakeholders.

Hot topic: Digitisation of land data is the need of the hour, say stakeholders.   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

R&B Minister suspects role of bigwigs in records’ tampering

Frequent land scams have hit hard the confidence of the investors’ community interested to set up projects in and around Visakhapatnam, the largest city in Andhra Pradesh with robust industrial base.

Of late, several land scams involving tampering of revenue records have hit the headlines. Important among them is the fudging of records to grab huge parcels of land, including the Circuit House on Daspalla Hills layout worth ₹20,000 crore. The government has been claiming ownership for a long time following which was referred to the Supreme Court.

Another big scam was the Land Pooling Scheme being implemented in Mudapaka village of Pendurthy mandal where prominent leaders are involved in acquiring land from SC, ST and others by paying less on knowing about the LPS offer of getting developed plot of 1,200 square yards.

The scams are happening with such impunity that even for a land acquired from farmers and development of layout by the APIIC, the government had to pay compensation for those who occupied it after its allotment to SAMEER R&D lab at Gambheeram. Claims were also received for the land allotted to the Indian Institute of Management, near SAMEER project.

“With so much uncertainty how anyone will come forward to invest in projects by acquiring government lands,” asks AP Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation president-elect G. Sambasiva Rao.

District Collector Pravin Kumar recently confirmed encroachment of nearly 190 acres in Kommadi village. The irregularities in land records were noticed when the data on land status were put in public domain. Even at Madhurawada, 92.54 acres in 25 survey numbers, mostly belonging to VUDA, have been grabbed.

As land survey is in progress, the State government is all set to hold a public hearing by a senior IAS officer in the city to receive complaints on land encroachments/tampering of records. R&B Minister Ch. Ayyannapatrudu suspects the involvement of several bigwigs in tampering with the revenue records.

Data at four places

Revenue records are kept at the Collector’s office (since Independence or 1952 survey numbers), tehsildar office, Sub-Registrar’s office and survey and settlement office. “Unfortunately, the data is not digitised leading to frequent controversies over fraudulent ways adopted by scamsters to grab government lands as well as those owned by individuals/business firms,” pointed out Symbiosys Technologies CEO Naresh Kumar.

Sources in the government told The Hindu that already a directive had been issued to digitise land data clearly mentioning which plots were available for allotment to the industries.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 1:18:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/land-scams-in-vizag-dent-confidence-of-investors/article18958122.ece

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