Cash-strapped Karnataka government to allow ‘permanent grant’ of leased land

In yet another controversial move, the cash-strapped State government has decided to raise resources by allowing “permanent grant” of its land leased out to various private organisations by prescribing rates on a par with the guidance value or higher.

In a notification issued on Monday, the Revenue Department referred to the practice of the State government leasing out land to private, voluntary, religious and charitable organisations, besides educational institutions and industrial bodies, for 30 years under provisions of Section 19 of Karnataka Land Grant Rules, 1969. The Deputy Commissioners of districts have the power to extend the lease by another five years.

Now the government will allow a one-time permanent grant of land by prescribing rates on a par with the guidance value to “stabilise the State’s financial condition”, the order issued by the Undersecretary to the Revenue Department, C. Balaram, said.

Two rates

The order has prescribed two slabs of rates for the permanent grant of leased land. If the organisation wants to use it for the purpose for which it was leased, then it has to pay on a par with the guidance value. The organisation will have to pay double the guidance value if it wants to use the land for any other purpose.

The order has asked the Deputy Commissioners concerned to send a proposal to the government on permanent grant of leased land by making use of the provisions under Section 27 of Karnataka Land Grant Rules. They officers have been instructed to inspect the leased land of those who do not want to exercise the option of outright grant. They have been asked to find out the exact quantum of land that has not been put to use by the organisations and to initiate measures to withdraw the unused land.

Critical voices

The move has sparked off concern in some sections. Farmers’ leader Kurubur Shanthakumar expressed apprehension over the manner in which the leased land was being allowed to be purchased by private organisations through an outright grant. “Our concern is over the methods of assessing the actual market value of the land. There is a huge difference between guidance value and market value. There will be a large-scale loss to the State exchequer if the government just grants land on the basis of guidance value,” he said.

He said that if the government has genuine intentions of raising resources, it should opt for public auctioning of the leased land in a transparent manner, without allowing the district administration to transact merely on the basis of guidance value.

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2020 8:49:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/cash-strapped-karnataka-government-to-allow-permanent-grant-of-leased-land/article32015118.ece

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