If the government has its way, then no agricultural land measuring less than five guntas, or 5,445 sq ft, can get a survey number without which it can neither be bought nor sold.
This, authorities believe, will help regulate the rampant sale of very small extents of agricultural lands around urban areas that end up becoming residential plots or “revenue sites”.
This is a serious issue in Bengaluru and other cities where small residential layouts have come up on small agricultural lands without the required land-use conversion — from agricultural to non-agricultural purpose.
The government has a proposal before it to fix a minimum extent for a survey number of an agricultural land, which authorities have suggested as five guntas across the state except Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada districts where it can be three guntas.
This was first proposed in January 2018 and has been pending ever since, allegedly due to pressure from the real estate mafia. Sample this: A residential layout situated on agricultural land converted for non-agricultural purpose will need space earmarked for public amenities and other infrastructure. This can be bypassed if transactions happen on smaller pieces of land on the pretext of doing agriculture.
“There are numerous complaints from field and by almost all deputy commissioners that agricultural lands are being sold away in very small extents (typically 1-5 guntas) wherein actual purpose is residential and it is not used or even sale is not really for agricultural purpose but practically house sites. These are called revenue sites and major cause of unplanned, haphazard growth around cities and even villages (sic),” Director (Bhoomi and Urban Property Ownership Records) Munish Moudgil has said in his proposal to the government, a copy of which is with DH.
Moudgil pointed out that while the e-Swathu database of the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj department attempted to regulate rural properties, the sale of agricultural lands in guntas is unchecked. “The land is intrinsically unfit for agriculture below certain extent.”
In fact, Section 108 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964, mandates that no survey number should be created below a minimum limit that should be fixed from time to time. “What we have proposed is in the interest of the public,” Moudgil, who is also the commissioner for survey, settlement and land records, told DH.
Principal Secretary (revenue) N Manjunath Prasad said the file was with him and that he still had not gone through it.