After two cases of controversies over ownership of its plots, the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) is gearing up for a mammoth exercise of reviewing its land records to ensure that all its acquisition proceedings are accurately reflected.
The corporation is in the process of issuing a detailed circular to all its offices saying MIDC should have a more proactive role in ensuring that records are updated when the corporation acquires land. MIDC has a land bank of approximately 78,000 hectares, with about 73,000 hectares more in the process of acquisition at various stages.
Sanjay Sethi, Chief Executive Officer at MIDC, said, “MIDC will approach the revenue department to get all its acquisition proceedings reflected in the revenue records. We will definitely do this in case of future acquisitions. But we will also scrutinise land records through MIDC’s regional officers for all plots we have acquired so far to make sure the revenue records are in order.”
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According to its land acquisition procedure, MIDC identifies plots it wants to acquire that are screened by its land committee and then recommended for acquisition to the government.
The government issues a draft notification for acquisition, hears out any suggestions or objections and comes out with a final notification. Officials said that until now, the MIDC’s involvement in land acquisition proceedings used to be till the final notification. From there on, the task of making the actual award on paper and disbursing compensation used to be viewed as the revenue department’s responsibility, they added.
In its aggressive marketing to industries as part of its ‘Make in Maharashtra’ mission, the Maharashtra government has always highlighted the ease in getting land for industries in the state through the MIDC, and hence clear land titles.
“In many cases, revenue records are incorrect and there are claimants as part of ‘other rights’ on the 7/12 extracts though MIDC has completed the process of acquiring land. But there are also cases where MIDC’s claim on the land is reflected several years after acquisition, creating confusion and disputes,” a senior official said.
Even in case of land that senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse purchased, and for which he had to resign as cabinet minister after allegations of graft in the land deal, MIDC’s claim on the plot was not reflected for nearly 40 years after acquisition. The corporation had earmarked the plot for acquisition in 1968, with the state government having issued a final notification for the acquisition in 1971, but the procedure of compensating the owner, from whom Khadse purchased the land in April this year, was never completed and 7/12 extracts continued to show his name as title owner. It was only in 2010 that the MIDC approached the revenue department informing the latter about its impending acquisition of the plot.
The Indian Express also reported how senior IPS officer Dhananjay Kamalakar and his son Rohit were under fire after MIDC accused Rohit and four others of fraudulently usurping its 76,400 square-metre land in Pune’s Karegaon. Kamalakar was later transferred from the post of Economic Offences Wing (EOW) chief to Inspector General, Coastal Security.
MIDC officials said the corporation was taking legal opinion, especially in case of the plot Khadse acquired, to understand its options for ensuring it remains the owner.