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ARIEDA�s appeal to State Govt

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 15 - The Assam Real Estate and Infrastructure Developers� Association (AREIDA) today appealed to the State Government to issue urgent and strict instructions to the Deputy Commissioners all over the State to protect Government, Forest etc., land from encroachment.

AREIDA president PK Sarma told this newspaper here today that one of the reasons as to why Assam has remained industrially backward is the non-availability of unencumbered land for setting up industries. He wholeheartedly welcomed the announcement made by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to put Government land to productive public use for revenue and employment generation.

But, he regretted the fact that organised grabbing of Government and Forest land has become a lucrative business in Assam, particularly in Guwahati. He attributed this to �an obvious nexus between some revenue officials and land sharks,� which is surviving on the lax enforcement of the legal provisions.

Every detail of Government land is known to the members of this nexus. As land price soars to astronomical levels, land grabbing attracts all and sundry, � from freeloaders to people of dubious citizenship, organized criminals and land mafia. They take advantage of the lax enforcement machinery and grab priceless public property for personal gains, said the AREIDA president.

The illegal structures built on these encroached plots of Government land are completely outside the strict regulatory framework, which unfortunately exists only for the development of myadi patta land.

Citing the example of Guwahati, he said that the phenomenon of grabbing of Government and Forest land has attained an alarming level here. This can be made amply clear with a picture that surfaced about seven years back through an exercise carried out by the Kamrup (Metro) district administration engaging the AC Neilsen, ORG MARG. This report was produced before the Gauhati High Court by the Kamrup (Metro) district administration in connection with a case in December, 2013.

The report prepared on the status of the eco-sensitive hills of Guwahati city as of 2009, stated there were 65,894 illegal buildings on 16 hills of Guwahati. Out of the total buildings on the city hills, 89 per cent were illegal structures. And of those illegal buildings, 71 per cent were on Government land and the rest 18 per cent were on the reserve forest land. Only 11 per cent of the constructions on the city hills were legitimate and on myadi patta land, said Sarma quoting the report.

He further added that this land grabbing still continues unabated leading to the collapse of the civic infrastructure, and the problems of floods, water logging and landslides.

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