In an effort to remove encroachers from government land and avoid delays in the implementation of major projects, the Maharashtra government has decided to provide residential apartments of 269 sqft to families that have encroached upon the plot. The families also have the option of taking an amount equivalent to the cost of the apartment.
A government resolution (GR), issued on Wednesday, pointed out that several projects of the state and Union government were getting delayed as they were unable to get possession of the land meant for the project, as it had been encroached on by multiple encroachers. The delay also added to the project cost, it stated.
“The state government is working towards a solution to ensure there is no delay in taking possession of the government land required for the project. The solution would avoid delays in implementation of the project and an increase in the project cost, if completed within the decided time-limit,” stated the GR.
Those who have encroached on government land within municipal corporation limits, and who are eligible for rehabilitation as per government rules, would be given the 269 sqft apartment free of cost, or a cash amount equivalent to the cost of the apartment, for vacating the land.
The state government has specified that the authorities concerned should link the details of the property or the cash amount with the Aadhaar details of the beneficiary. The task of rehabilitating the affected families should be taken up by the authority implementing the project, stated the GR.
Each affected family should be rehabilitated separately and families with ration cards, dated before January 1, 2018, should be considered for rehabilitation, it said. “The new rehabilitation policy will be applicable only for government projects and should be implemented with the consent of the district collector,” stated the resolution.
Former Town Planning Officer Ramchandra Gohad, however, warned that such a move — giving free houses to those who encroach on government land — would set a wrong precedent. “It is the responsibility of government officers to ensure there is no encroachment on government land. The decision to give free houses or cash to encroachers of government land, so that they vacate the land for a project, will only encourage further encroachment of government land,” he said.
Till now, the government had provided “shifting charges” to the encroachers on humanitarian grounds, said Gohad.