The Maharashtra government has decided to return at original price the agriculture land taken from farmers if it remains unutilised for more than 10 years. The decision is part of the slew of policy reforms taken by the revenue ministry in the last two days.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse said, “A large tract of agriculture land had been acquired for industrial and other purposes. There was earlier a rider that those who buy the land should begin the project within five years. We have now allowed them to retain the land up to 10 years after paying penalty.”
The charges will be 2 per cent of the ready reckoner rate.
However, if the project does not begin even after 10 years, the government will have the right to take back the acquired land. It will be then handed over to the original farmer/individual from whom it was purchased.
“When we return the land to the original farmers, it would be given back at the price at which it was purchased,” said Khadse.
Describing the decision that has been turned into an Act, Khadse said, “The primary aim is to put an end to the rampant exploitation of land across Maharashtra.” He added, “In the last two decades, we have seen major tracts of land were brought in the name of special economic zones.Industrial and private players, after buying the land, kept it undeveloped for 10-15 years. It was then sold at market price and converted into real estate. It had become a business.”
While promoting industries, Khadse said, the government would ensure that land acquired in the name of mega projects were not misused.
The government passes a Bill that will do away with ‘non-agriculture’ use certificate for purchase of agriculture land. Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse said, “Now, anybody can purchase an agriculture land without having to produce the certificate of being a farmer. It will also ensure that all plots and layouts have the sanction of development plans.”
The Legislative Assembly late Thursday evening gave its approval to the land reforms Bill titled Maharashtra Tenancy and Agriculture Lands Act, the Hyderabad Tenancy and Agriculture Lands Act, 1950 and the Maharashtra Tenancy and Agriculture Lands (Vidarbha Region) Act.