The BJP government in Haryana is planning to probe the release of around 16,000 acres of land by the previous Congress regime from the official acquisition process after it had issued notifications to acquire them for “public purpose”.
Official figures accessed by The Indian Express show that 2,602.58 acres of land was released by Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), under the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led government, in just three districts: Gurgaon, Sonipat and Rohtak.
Records also reveal that a bulk of the land thus released was obtained by private real estate developers.
The figures further show that of the 16,000 acres released, the then government subsequently issued over 175 Change of Land Use (CLUs)/ colony licences on 4,636.608 acres.
“We are looking into all such transactions and shall act in the due course of law. However, we are not looking into this with any ulterior motive,” Haryana Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu told The Indian Express.
According to the figures, the previous state government issued notifications for the acquisition of 72,922.50 acres of land from March 1, 2005 to July 31, 2013. It finally ended up acquiring 56,917.644 acres.
In between, records show that the release of land happened mainly in three phases:
* 5,758.835 acres between the issuance of the preliminary notification under Section 4 of the existing Land Acquisition Act and the following notification under Section 6, which declares that the land is being acquired for a “public purpose”.
* 4,607.672 acres between the issuance of notification under Section 6 and the announcement of compensation for land-owners.
* 5,638.349 acres after the compensation was announced.
The figures also reveal that HUDA alone incurred an expenditure of Rs 9,852 crore as cost of land acquisition during the Congress regime. The authority also spent over Rs. 9,997 crore as enhancement cost and an additional Rs 9,201 crore towards development work. This excluded the expenditure incurred on land acquisition by other boards and corporations, and various other state government departments.
The official records also provide details of how most of the land, thus released across the state, ended up in the hands of private players. Consider these:
* Sonipat: Of 885 acres notified in Nangal Kalan, Aterna and Sersa to meet the residential needs of industrial workers, 653 acres were either purchased or obtained through agreements by private players.
* Ambala: Of 253.3 acres notified in Kandli, Kanwali, Sounda and Sarai Mehdoor, over 158 acres were released from which more than 100 acres were purchased by private players.
* Gurgaon: 1,400 acres notified for acquisition for “public purpose” in sectors 58-64 and 65-67 were released from the acquisition process. Last September, the Supreme Court sought details of each sale deed of the land that was sold after it was released. The case is ongoing.
* Manesar: 912 acres notified in Manesar, Lakhnaula and Naurangpur for rehabilitating industrial workers were released and ultimately obtained by private players.