Outsiders violating HP land use norms in for trouble

Shimla, November 15: Outsiders who have bought land in Himachal in exemption of Section 118 of the Tenancy and Land Reform Act, 1972, will now have to seek fresh permission under the law for changing its use from residential to commercial or any other purpose.

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An order to this effect was passed by Sanjay Gupta, Financial Commissioner (Appeals), while hearing an individual case wherein the use of land bought in Kangra district for residential purpose had been changed to commercial (guest house) without prior permission from the government.

Passed on November 12, the order upheld the one passed by the Kangra Deputy Commissioner and the Divisional Commissioner for vestment of the land in question and the structure built over it in favour of the government.

The Financial Commissioner’s order called for identifying more violators: “A special drive be launched to detect such cases in which non-agriculturists have purchased land in the state for residential purpose and after raising huge structures, they are using these for commercial purposes by renting them out to others. Some of these properties have also been converted into guest houses without seeking fresh approval of the government for change of land use.”

The direction has to be communicated to the Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue), who has to pass it on further to all Deputy Commissioners for detecting violators under the Act in their respective districts.

In many cases, people wielding political clout have managed to acquire change of land use from the Cabinet. With this order, respective Deputy Commissioners will have to ask all non-Himachali applicants seeking change of land use to seek fresh permission from the government under Section 118.

There have been several instances where people, after seeking special exemption under Section 118, purchased land for a specific purpose, mostly residential for self-use, but later converted their properties into guest houses. Many influential people, including bureaucrats, have not even bothered to seek change of land use while undertaking commercial activity in their properties.

There have also been instances where people, after acquiring an essentiality certificate from the Tourism Department, bought land for setting up hotels and guest houses and constructed commercial flats instead. No action has till date been taken against such defaulters with the tourism and revenue authorities passing the buck to each other.

Source Tribune India