Land sale, Revenue minister holds ground

Shimla: Land being a sensitive issue in the state, the government has hit back at the opposition about raking up the issue of Himachal up for sale by revealing that from 2003-07 the then congress government had granted permission to 2068 non agriculturalist for buying land in the state.

As the Prem Kumar Dhumal led BJP government had come in for severe attack from the opposition in the recently concluded budget session on the issue of granting permission to non-residents for buying land in the state, Gulab Singh, revenue minister on Sunday here said that from 2008 to date only 1297 applicants had been allowed buy land in the state.

Taking the congress to task for amending the Section – 118 of HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act 1972 which prohibits sale of agriculture land to non-residents and non-agriculturalists, the revenue minister said that to suit their favored people, congress amended the law five times whereas BJP has not done so even once.

Making a comparison, the minister said that congress had granted 27 permissions under Apartment Act while BJP had given only 15 permissions for apartment constructions.

Giving details Gulab Singh Thakur said BJP had given permissions to 28 people for buying land for agriculture purposes, 428 for house construction, 11 for commercial purposes, 601 for industries, 85 for educational institutions, 47 for religious purposes, 50 for hotels and 32 for hydro power projects.

During the previous congress tenure permission was given to 28 persons for buying land for agriculture purposes, 586 for house construction, 18 for commercial purposes, 1242 for industries, 24 for educational institutions, 59 for religious purposes, 50 for hotels, 31 for hyro power projects and 3 for information and bio technology purposes, he added.

Pointing out the case of Solan district, the minister said that the earlier congress government had granted permission to 1090 whereas BJP had allowed only 499 persons. In Shimla congress had allowed 143 people and BJP had allowed only 85 non-Himachalils to buy land of which 49 were for house purpose only.

To get to the bottom of the issue, he said that the chief minister had announced setting up a house committee to find out legality of the essential certificates and irregularities if any. If need be a judicial inquiry would be held in the matter as the chief minister has assured the house, he added.

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