Sunday, December 14, 2014

Land grabbing in the name of development-New revelations

The nexus between politicians and land grabbers, whether belonging to the industry sector or real estate groups is well known and no worthwhile action is visible in spite of the thousands of acres being passed on to them for a song under one pretext or the other. The usual modus operandi is for the government to acquire land from poor farmers at a notional price citing public interest and "allot" them to the "friends" for the avowed purpose of setting up Special Economic Zones, Mega Parks, Industrial Parks etc. The allottee after getting the land do not use the same for the purpose for which it was allotted to them, denotify a part of it and sell it at a "mega" price at market rates. This has been highlighted by the latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)  which like other earlier reports may be forgotten by the citizens allowing the same to be re-enacted by these politicians after a lapse of time. These state actors know that public memory is very very short and public has other pressing concerns about the difficulties  faced by them for their very survival being which is their priority. Imagine how many billions of rupees the country has been losing over the years. Here is a peep into the latest CAG report.

 "Raising doubts on the fairness of allotment of government land to some top corporates for special economic zones (SEZs), the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) has said that 47 files related to them have gone missing in the commerce ministry and were not made available to the audit team despite requests. The auditor has published names of all the 47 SEZ developers who were allocated concessional government land at important locations in different cities whose files the commerce ministry refused to share for scrutiny. The CAG audit report on performance of SEZs was recently tabled in Parliament and will now be taken up for discussion by the public accounts committee (PAC).  Sources said when the audit team insisted on verifying details of these allotments and status of the projects, the ministry officials said these files were not traceable. "We wrote letters demanding these files, but were told they are not available," said a senior audit official."

Is it not interesting to see the list brought out by the CAG which contains most of the bigwigs of the corporate world who in the name of development gets huge tracts of land allotted to them at nominal prices for making a killing by selling their land at market rates?. While these corporate organizations are in the forefront in industrial and infrastructure development for which they must be applauded, the devious route they are taking through their contacts with government babus and mantris for getting manifold returns on their investment on land deserves to be condemned and the land value fully recovered with penal interest. Land appropriation and encroachment are a big business in this country and it is time that Supreme Court sets up a Special Investigation Team ( SIT) like the one created to chase black money recently. This SIT on land misappropriation and transgressions must cover all cases across the country over the last two decades.


No comments: