Winter assembly session
ITANAGAR, Jan 8: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Wednesday said the state cabinet has decided to impose 50 percent penalty in addition to the existing land premium rates on those who have constructed private houses on encroached government land.
On the second day of the state assembly’s winter session, participating in a short-duration discussion raised by the National People’s Party’s legislature party leader Mutchu Mithi on the high land premium rate prescribed by the government for land possession in the state, Khandu said that for getting allotment for encroached government land, the person has to pay an additional penalty of Rs 500 besides the existing amount of Rs 1000 per sq metre of the land they have encroached.
During the discussion, Mithi pointed out the inequitable distribution of land premium rates across the state. The state government has divided the land into five zones and fixed the premiums accordingly, with a maximum of Rs 1,000 and a minimum Rs 100 for commercial areas, and from Rs 600 to Rs 50 for residential areas.
Requesting the government to reframe the laws and reduce the existing land premium rates while maintaining uniformity, Mithi noted that some locations in Itanagar have lower rates than in Tezu, in Lohit district, under the classification.
Mithi also asked the government to look into the matter of repeated payment of land premium rates.
“While authorities say that it is a one-time payment, rules have been circumvented and the premium rate is applied afresh each time a piece of land is passed on to a new owner. Just because people have land does not mean they have a lot of wealth in their bank accounts,” Mithi said, and asked the government to be clear in the matter.
Member Nyato Rigia pointed out the inconsistencies in land allotment and the premium land rates, and requested the government to initiate an inquiry into the land laws.
“Either a new law be brought or the prevailing law be implemented properly,” he said.
Referring to the unauthorized encroachment on government quarters, especially Type-II quarters, Itanagar MLA Techi Kaso said he had earlier submitted a proposal to the government that the encroachers should be given allotment and the money collected through such allotments utilized to establish a new colony with G+3 or G+4 buildings and a proper boundary to provide housing to government employees.
“However, instead of taking up the proposal, the land was divided into zones, and just before the elections, 240-250 allotments were given, which shows that the encroachers (about 5000) have taken out allotment against their buildings,” Kaso said.
Several other MLAs also raised their concerns and placed suggestions in the matter.
Participating in the discussion towards the end, Khandu said the rates were devised and passed by the cabinet in 2018. He, however, said the rates were very low.
“A cabinet sub-committee was constituted on 14 November, 2017, with the then land management minister as chairman, which made a detailed study and forwarded its recommendation to the government for enhancement of land premium rate,” he said.
Noting the discrepancies in the classification of land in the districts, by which a few districts have to pay more premium compared to the state capital, the chief minister said the government would write to the deputy commissioners, who had been entrusted to classify the land in their jurisdictions in the prescribed zones, to “revisit the classification of the land zone and to submit a fresh report to the government.”
Khandu said the government does not have a problem with modifying the rates again, “but till such time, the existing rates will have to be applied.”
However, he said his office has not received any public memorandum to reduce the land rates. Khandu also assured that the government would soon issue a clear-cut order not to charge any fresh premium on inherited land.
He said the land premium rate is applicable to only government land given on lease to private parties, not to community land or ancestral land properties. (With PTI inputs)
Quotes of the day
1. “Chakmas and Hajongs ko leke abhi jo bhi humlog ko battle ladna hai woh Supreme Court mein hi humlog ko ladna hoga,” CM Pema Khandu, answering a supplementary question from Wangling Lowangdong.
2. “Yeh bahut hi complicated hai. Logon ke samajh mein nahi aa raha hai. Mere samajh mein to aya nahi,” Mutchu Mithi on the inconsistency in land premium rates in different districts.
3. “Ya toh land law mein garbari hai, ya to implementation mein garbari hai,” MLA Nyato Regia, participating in the short-duration discussion on land premium rates.
4. “Ek plot of land khali hai. Kisi ne waha ek danda gaad diya. Parso woh admi uss land ko bechega. Koi mai baap nahi hai. Parentless land hai,” Nyato Rigia on lack of land allotment in some districts.
5. “Aapne G+3, G+4 building bana diya. Abhi woh Type-II mein toh admi reh hi nahi sakta hai. Kyuki saans hi lene ke liye jagah nahi hai,” Techi Kaso, referring to encroachment on government quarters.