With raging controversies, over government land being arbitrarily released, dominating the political landscape, the Himachal Pradesh cabinet on Wednesday approved new draft rules that make the provisions for grant of land lease more stringent and rationalise the amount chargeable from beneficiaries.
Titled the Himachal Pradesh Lease Rules, 2013, the new rules will be notified in the official gazette after suggestions and objections are sought. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh presided over the cabinet meeting.
As per the draft policy, no government land will provided on a lease basis except in cases where no other alternate private land is available. Exemptions have been granted only in case self-employment, ex-servicemen, war widows and BPL families. It has also been proposed that government land can be leased out to landless Himachalis for the construction of houses and for rehabilitation of victims of natural calamities.
“The encroached government land will not be leased to the encroacher but could be leased out to any eligible person or institutions after the encroacher is removed. The maximum area required for a specific purpose will be certified by the department concerned under which the activity for which lease of government land is sought, falls. Such maximum area will be subject to provisions of the HP Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1972,” a government spokesperson said.
The various government departments have been given the freedom to fix their norms to ascertain the eligibility of a lessee to undertake the proposed activity, the necessity of activity and the extent of area required for the purpose. Before government land is granted on a lease basis, no objections of estate right holders will be obtained. The state government will have the power to grant lease for any period it deems fit.
The policy proposes to calculate the lease amount per annum at 10 per cent of the current circle rates notified by the district Collector. In case of hydro-electric projects which are exclusively reserved for bonafide Himachalis, the lease amount will be charged at 5 per cent. Further, it has been proposed that after every five years, the lease amount will be increased by 5 per cent with regard to the existing lease amount.
The state government will have powers to reduce the lease amount in the cases of persons affected by natural calamities and those who have lost their agricultural land and dwelling, landless/houseless persons, ex-service men, war widow, BPL families and differently abled people. As