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High premiums stall land settlement process in State

By SIVASISH THAKUR

GUWAHATI, Dec 23 - Following the revision and fixation of land revenue for different categories of government land by the State government in 2003 by a notification No. PRG3/2003/II dated December 5, 2003, and then again twice after 2010, the process for settlement of government land came to a standstill due to the very high premium rates.

Although settlement orders were issued to some families, their inability to pay at high rates ensured that the final settlement order did not come into effect. In fact, hundreds of settlement orders are gathering dust in DC Kamrup (Metro) office, as the needy weaker sections of land occupants are not in a position to pay the huge land premium.

Official sources told The Assam Tribune that the irrational and arbitrary fixing of high premium rates was having the effect of keeping a large number of occupants on government land deprived of various facilities that landowners are entitled to such as bank loan, house building permission, etc.

�The previous Congress government led by Tarun Gogoi did not pay any attention to the grievances of the families who had been living on government land for over 20 years. These families, who had occupied government land, were compelled to do so, as they lacked financial capacity to buy private miyadi land. By raising land premium manifold, the government has prevented transfer of land ownership to these unfortunate families,� sources added.

Regrettably, the present State government headed by Sarbananda Sonowal is also not doing anything to resolve the issue of settlement of government land by fixing a reasonable premium for the indigenous people who have been residing on the city�s government land for 20 to 25 years.

During the period from 1992 to 2000, some families were issued settlement by realising the due premium as fixed by the government for ordinary government land for those in continuous occupation of government land for more than 15 years and who did not have in his or her name any periodic/miyadi patta land in Guwahati for household purposes.

In the early 1990s, the government had initially fixed the premium of khas government land to the occupants or applicants at approximately Rs 25,000 per katha. But in 1994, the government fixed the valuation of settlement of government land in greater Guwahati category-wise, dividing greater Guwahati into six categories.

Accordingly, Category A covering Fancy Bazar, Panbazar and Ulubari areas had premium ranging between Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 per katha, Category B comprising Bharalumukh, Bamunimaidam, etc., areas had premium between Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000, and Category C covering Japorigog, Dispur, Hengrabari, Rukminigaon, etc., areas had premium fixed at Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000.

On the other hand, Category D covering the areas of Hatigaon, Odalbakra, Kahilipara, Kharghuli, Barsapara, etc., had premium between Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000, Category E having areas of Mathgharia, Satgaon, Khanapara, etc., had premium of Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000, and Category F covering the areas of Jalukbari, Garigaon, Tetelia, Dakhingaon, etc., had premium of Rs 20,000.

In 2003, the government again revised the rate of premium for these categories of land fixing Rs 10 lakh per katha in Fancy Bazar, Panbazar, Machkhowa and Paltan Bazar areas, Rs 5 lakh for Chandmari, Ulubari, Maligaon, etc., Rs 2 lakh for Rukminigaon, Kahilipara, Hengrabari, Sorumotoria, etc., Rs 1.50 lakh for Mathgharia, Saokuchi, Gotanagar, etc., Rs 1.30 lakh for Notboma, Basistha areas, Rs 1 lakh for Noonmati, Kalitakuchi, Jyotikuchi, etc., and Rs 80,000 for Garigaon, Ramsa Hill, Sadilapur, etc., areas.

Even after 2010, the government re-fixed the premium twice at more or less Rs 3 lakh to Rs 15 lakh per katha. This resulted in a complete halt to the land settlement process.

Generally, the average prevailing market price of land is the basis of premium on settlement of khas government land. Except in town areas covering a radius of three to ten kilometres, deputy commissioners of the districts concerned fix the premium for settlement of government land. But, in case of town land including Guwahati, the revenue department fixes the premium to be paid by the settler for settlement of government land.

The land revenue administration and settlement of various kinds of government land are mastered by different Acts and rules promulgated under the Assam Land Revenue Regulation, 1886.

In case of settlement of government land acquired under the provision of the Assam State Acquisition of Land Belonging to Religious or Charitable Institution of Public Nature Act, 1959 and Rules, 1962, the premium is nil for the genuine occupants.

For settlement of land to the tenants on government land acquired under the Assam Fixation of Land Holding and Ceiling Act as amended, the premium to be paid by the tenants is 50 times of land revenue of the said plots, which is very nominal.

�Of course, there was no provision of fixation of premium under the Urban Land Ceiling Act, 1976, which was repealed subsequently in all the states of India. The State government fixes the premium for the settlement of other government land in the city on the basis of the report of the deputy commissioner, Kamrup (Metro),� sources said.

The arguments of the citizens were that the State government paid compensation to the landlord at Rs 500 per bigha approximately, whose lands were acquired by the State government under the Assam Fixation of Land Holding and Ceiling Act. Similarly, the State government paid compensation to the landlords at Rs 2,608 per katha, whose lands were acquired and made government land under the Urban Land Ceiling Act, 1976 (already repealed). Further, the families who occupied government land also developed the plots to make it fit for homestead purpose even by constructing roads by incurring a huge expenditure.

�The present State government that has come to power on the slogan of safeguarding the land and identity (jati-mati-bheti) of the indigenous people is completely apathetic to our grievances,� an aggrieved settler said.

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High premiums stall land settlement process in State

GUWAHATI, Dec 23 - Following the revision and fixation of land revenue for different categories of government land by the State government in 2003 by a notification No. PRG3/2003/II dated December 5, 2003, and then again twice after 2010, the process for settlement of government land came to a standstill due to the very high premium rates.

Although settlement orders were issued to some families, their inability to pay at high rates ensured that the final settlement order did not come into effect. In fact, hundreds of settlement orders are gathering dust in DC Kamrup (Metro) office, as the needy weaker sections of land occupants are not in a position to pay the huge land premium.

Official sources told The Assam Tribune that the irrational and arbitrary fixing of high premium rates was having the effect of keeping a large number of occupants on government land deprived of various facilities that landowners are entitled to such as bank loan, house building permission, etc.

�The previous Congress government led by Tarun Gogoi did not pay any attention to the grievances of the families who had been living on government land for over 20 years. These families, who had occupied government land, were compelled to do so, as they lacked financial capacity to buy private miyadi land. By raising land premium manifold, the government has prevented transfer of land ownership to these unfortunate families,� sources added.

Regrettably, the present State government headed by Sarbananda Sonowal is also not doing anything to resolve the issue of settlement of government land by fixing a reasonable premium for the indigenous people who have been residing on the city�s government land for 20 to 25 years.

During the period from 1992 to 2000, some families were issued settlement by realising the due premium as fixed by the government for ordinary government land for those in continuous occupation of government land for more than 15 years and who did not have in his or her name any periodic/miyadi patta land in Guwahati for household purposes.

In the early 1990s, the government had initially fixed the premium of khas government land to the occupants or applicants at approximately Rs 25,000 per katha. But in 1994, the government fixed the valuation of settlement of government land in greater Guwahati category-wise, dividing greater Guwahati into six categories.

Accordingly, Category A covering Fancy Bazar, Panbazar and Ulubari areas had premium ranging between Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 per katha, Category B comprising Bharalumukh, Bamunimaidam, etc., areas had premium between Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000, and Category C covering Japorigog, Dispur, Hengrabari, Rukminigaon, etc., areas had premium fixed at Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000.

On the other hand, Category D covering the areas of Hatigaon, Odalbakra, Kahilipara, Kharghuli, Barsapara, etc., had premium between Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000, Category E having areas of Mathgharia, Satgaon, Khanapara, etc., had premium of Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000, and Category F covering the areas of Jalukbari, Garigaon, Tetelia, Dakhingaon, etc., had premium of Rs 20,000.

In 2003, the government again revised the rate of premium for these categories of land fixing Rs 10 lakh per katha in Fancy Bazar, Panbazar, Machkhowa and Paltan Bazar areas, Rs 5 lakh for Chandmari, Ulubari, Maligaon, etc., Rs 2 lakh for Rukminigaon, Kahilipara, Hengrabari, Sorumotoria, etc., Rs 1.50 lakh for Mathgharia, Saokuchi, Gotanagar, etc., Rs 1.30 lakh for Notboma, Basistha areas, Rs 1 lakh for Noonmati, Kalitakuchi, Jyotikuchi, etc., and Rs 80,000 for Garigaon, Ramsa Hill, Sadilapur, etc., areas.

Even after 2010, the government re-fixed the premium twice at more or less Rs 3 lakh to Rs 15 lakh per katha. This resulted in a complete halt to the land settlement process.

Generally, the average prevailing market price of land is the basis of premium on settlement of khas government land. Except in town areas covering a radius of three to ten kilometres, deputy commissioners of the districts concerned fix the premium for settlement of government land. But, in case of town land including Guwahati, the revenue department fixes the premium to be paid by the settler for settlement of government land.

The land revenue administration and settlement of various kinds of government land are mastered by different Acts and rules promulgated under the Assam Land Revenue Regulation, 1886.

In case of settlement of government land acquired under the provision of the Assam State Acquisition of Land Belonging to Religious or Charitable Institution of Public Nature Act, 1959 and Rules, 1962, the premium is nil for the genuine occupants.

For settlement of land to the tenants on government land acquired under the Assam Fixation of Land Holding and Ceiling Act as amended, the premium to be paid by the tenants is 50 times of land revenue of the said plots, which is very nominal.

�Of course, there was no provision of fixation of premium under the Urban Land Ceiling Act, 1976, which was repealed subsequently in all the states of India. The State government fixes the premium for the settlement of other government land in the city on the basis of the report of the deputy commissioner, Kamrup (Metro),� sources said.

The arguments of the citizens were that the State government paid compensation to the landlord at Rs 500 per bigha approximately, whose lands were acquired by the State government under the Assam Fixation of Land Holding and Ceiling Act. Similarly, the State government paid compensation to the landlords at Rs 2,608 per katha, whose lands were acquired and made government land under the Urban Land Ceiling Act, 1976 (already repealed). Further, the families who occupied government land also developed the plots to make it fit for homestead purpose even by constructing roads by incurring a huge expenditure.

�The present State government that has come to power on the slogan of safeguarding the land and identity (jati-mati-bheti) of the indigenous people is completely apathetic to our grievances,� an aggrieved settler said.