Circle rates of agricultural land to be based on location

Government's 2016 notification had hit roadblock with L-G, court.

Written by Pragya Kaushika | New Delhi | Published: June 5, 2017 3:03:20 am
The move will make land deals fair to farmers, who can sell their lands to businesses.

The uniformity in circle rates of agricultural land in the capital is set to end with the Delhi government’s revenue department deciding to divide land according to its fertility, demand and utility. Sources in the government said the rates will be finalised on the basis of location of land — if it falls under a privileged (commercially-viable) area or a riverbed.

Earlier, the government had tried to divide agriculture land into land pooling policy zones and non-land pooling policy zones. In August 2016, the AAP government had issued a notification raising the circle rates of agriculture land from Rs 53 lakh per acre to Rs 1 crore to Rs 3 crore per acre, in villages where the land pooling policy had been approved.

According to the government, fixing different rates for different areas of the city would protect the right of equality of all farmers. However, the then Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung had stayed the notification and called it invalid as it did not have his approval. After the Delhi High Court ruled in favour of Jung, calling him the “administrator” of the national capital, the rates were reversed to the original lower circle rates.

The court had also quashed the notification to hike circle rates by increasing stamp duty as “illegal”, as it was issued without consulting the L-G. To end the confusion, the government had set up a committee — headed by divisional commissioner Manisha Saxena — to rationalise circle rates by taking feedback from field officers and experts.

“A report by an evaluation board, which proposed circle rate revision, was not accepted by many agencies. To reach a consensus, the new committee was formed to look into this,” a senior official at the revenue department said. Sources said the revenue department has formed groups, constituted by officials, and has submitted feedback on circle rates across Delhi — agricultural and other land.

“In some cases, agriculture land falls under the land pooling zone and in the riverbed area, increasing chances of it being exploited for commercial purposes. So, the circle rates of such land should differ from less-commercially viable land. This exercise will make the land deal fair to farmers, who can sell their lands to businesses,” a senior official said. Sources in the government said uniform agriculture rates were in stark contrast with market place rates and, thus, needed rationalisation.

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