VISAKHAPATNAM:With the government’s stringent directions to take back the lands allotted to individuals, organisations and industries for various purposes and were not put to use even after the stipulated period, the district revenue department has started the exercise and issuing notices to the allottees.
The government has asked all the district administrations to list the lands allotted to various industries, organisations and individuals and check whether the institutions had utilised the allotted lands as per the MoU. In Visakhapatnam Revenue Division during the Congress tenure (2004-2014), many individuals and institutions were allotted lands in the city and on the outskirts. Some of the organisations and establishments had assured the government that they would provide employment opportunities.
However, post-bifurcation, pooling land for various projects has become a tough job for the State Government. On several occasions, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu directed the district administration to save every cent of government land. After the bifurcation, several organisations evinced interest in Visakhapatnam to start operations.
Very recently, the district administration has conducted a field inquiry and listed institutions which did not even perform ‘Bhoomi Pooja’ for their projects on the allotted lands. However, the allottees had constructed boundary walls and deployed private security guards to protect the lands.
In fact, while providing the lands, the government’s condition was that units should be grounded in five years of land allotment. However, in and around Visakhapatnam, over 50 per cent of organisations have failed to ground their units for several reasons. However, when the Revenue department and Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) issued showcause notices to the allottees on why the lands should not be taken back, the latter narrated their problems and got the deadline extended.
“The department has issued notices to about 15 organisations. They have also responded with an explanation. The collector will take a decision after studying the explanations,” said S Venkateswarlu, Visakhapatnam RDO. According to the rules and regulations of the Government Land Allotment Policy, the lands which have not been used for the allotted purpose and also failed to provide employment to people in the stipulated time would be cancelled and those lands would be allotted to parties in the wait-list. Back in the saddle, the TDP government has decided to take back those lands, a senior revenue official said.
“The institutions took the lands assuring the government that they would provide employment opportunities and some lands have been allotted to institutions as a special case. Be it company or individual, the lands should be brought into utilisation. Now the government is very keen on land policy. According to the study reports, over 75 acres of land is not put to productive use and notices have been issued. The government has directed the department not to relax the rules for the companies which got the lands five years ago and failed to bring it into utilisation,” the official said.
Meanwhile, some of the institutions which did not ground their units planted trees on those lands, officials said. Also, the land price has shot up. As a number of institutions, establishments and the Bhogapuram airport are coming up in the area, the government has decided to take back those lands. As most of the lands have been allotted through the APIIC, the corporation has geared up to take back the unused lands, the official said.
The APIIC has clear data about their allotted lands and the ground position. However, the APIIC is still waiting to take action. As collector N Yuvaraj directed the officials to initiate action against defaulters, the officials issued notices. Meanwhile, the officials are also seeking legal opinion to take pre-emptive measures expecting the allottees to move courts for stay orders, the official said.
Cong Awaiting Land for 5 Years
The district administration has allotted one acre land to Congress Party to construct their office building in Chinagadili in 2010 near Health City. But some doctors raised objections and moved court. The Revenue Department has also noticed that the land was earlier allotted to the doctors and assured the Congress party that an alternative plot near Hanumanthawaka Junction would be provided. The Congress paid `5 lakh for the one acre. But even after five years, the revenue officials are yet to allot land to the party. For the past five years, the party has been fighting for the land. The party had already paid the money and still waiting for the land, said Behara Bhaskara Rao, president of City Congress Committee.