Shimla: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra happens to be one among the 881 people, companies, trusts or societies that was granted permission in the last three years to buy land by relaxing the states stringent land laws that do not permit diversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes nor does it permit non-agriculturalists or non state residents to buy agricultural land in Himachal Pradesh.
Congress legislator Rohit Thakur, BJP legislator Mohinder Singh and Himachal Lokhit Party leader Maheshwar Singh had questioned the government about land transactions that the government had permitted in the last three year by relaxing the land laws.
In the detailed written reply, revenue minister Kaul Singh Thakur disclosed that there were as many as 52 educational societies and 3 private universities among the 881 entities who were permitted to buy land over the period.
Several hydropower companies, corporate house, industrial units and religious bodies are among those for whom permissions under section 118 of HP Land Tenancy and Reforms Act 1972 were allowed
Besides Priyanka, Kumud Bhushan Education Society through Prashant Bhushan of the Aam Admi Party was allowed to buy land by the previous BJP government.
Whereas Priyanka bought only 922 square meters of land in Mashobra near Shimla, the Bhushan education society was granted permission to buy 46,828 square meters in Palampur area of Kangra district, the information presented in the Vidhan Sabha disclosed.
For constructing a summer house, Priyanka had earlier bought a plot at Mashobra in 2007. However the cottage that was being constructed on the plot was later pulled down.
Permissions granted in 2010 were 416, in 2011 only 145 permissions were given and in 2012, the government relaxed laws for 320 entities.
In response to a question by Congress legislator Asha Kumari, the revenue minister stated that there were 246 cases registered in the last three years about land law violations that had come to notice. While 110 cases had been disposed off the remaining were awaiting settlement.
Largest number of violations recorded was in Shimla district followed by Hamirpur, Solan, Sirmaur and Kangra.
Land remains a sensitive issue in Himachal and the congress four months ago had run a shrill election campaign by alleging that BJP had put the state on sale.
After assuming power, last December, revenue minister went onto state that the government would review all permission granted by the previous BJP government.