Govt says 10.42 lakh acres of its land still under encroachment

Revenue Minister V Srinivasa Prasad on Wednesday said 10.42 lakh acres of revenue land in the state is still under encroachment. 

In a written statement in the Legislative Council, Prasad said that across the four revenue divisions of Bangalore, Mysore, Gulbarga and Belgaum, 56.46 lakh acres of government land is available. However, of this, 11.02 lakh acres has been encroached upon. Responding to several questions from the Opposition over the extent of land recovered and the steps taken to clear encroachments, the minister said department  has recovered a paltry 60,099 acres.
On whether the government will continue with the task force, constituted under chairmanship of the controversial retired IAS officer, V Balasubramanian, to protect revenue land, he said the State has replaced it with a new committee. 
“We have replaced the task force with a high powered committee headed by chief secretary. The committee is looking into the recommendations of the A T Ramaswamy committee report and the V Balasubramanian report,” said  Prasad. 
The minister said the government is planning to permanently post a senior IAS officer to the committee to keep a tab on the day-to-day activities of anti-encroachment drives. This is in tune with the suggestion made by senior JD(S) leader, M C Nanaiah, to relieve the chief secretary of this responsibility and post a senior IAS officer for the job, he said.
Guidance value
Prasad said the department has decided not to auction any revenue land which has been recovered. The department is also planning to set up a Land Evaluation Committee, based on the Maharashtra model, to look into periodical revision of land value in the State. 
“The Maharashtra model has been exemplary in terms of its effectiveness. We will be looking into the entire land pricing and, in future make it a transparent policy for fixing guidance value,” he said.
The government is in the process of hiking the guidance value for the three districts of Ramanagara, Bangalore Rural and Bangalore Urban by 40 per cent. For the other 23 districts, the government has decided to hike the guidance value by 30 per cent.Prasad said that the government was looking at accruing more revenue from these three districts which has seen a huge increase in land value.

The minister said that in Bangalore Urban district 14,683 encroachment cases have come to light in which 34,109 acres of government land has been encroached upon. Of these, 10,739 acres have been recovered.

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