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Andhra Pradesh - Visakhapatnam Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Prime ULC land taken over by private parties

Sumit Bhattacharjee

The land was regularised in favour of realtors with the help of ‘fraudulent documents'


The site is now being developed by a developer into a high-priced gated community

It comes under CRZ-II, which prohibits construction of high-rise buildings


VISAKHAPATNAM: A chunk of prime ULC (urban land ceiling) land in the vicinity of Ramakrishna Beach here seems to have been gifted away by the Government to an influential conglomerate of realtors for a song.

Measuring 8,329 sq. m. under survey number 1011 in Waltair Ward, the land, which is located in a prime area, was regularised in favour of the realtors by way of alleged fraudulent documents. The site is now being developed by a developer into a high-priced gated community.

The then District Collector A.K. Singhal, in a letter dated December 19, 2006, addressed to the then Revenue Secretary stated, “Taking advantage of GO 455, the land grabbers, having knowledge of the land in TS No1011 Waltair Ward and with active cooperation of the officers concerned, could get their regularisation proposals processed. It is evident that the relevant documents were manipulated to suit their need.”

He urged the Revenue Secretary to rescind the GO 424 and restore the land to the department for suitable public use. He also suggested criminal prosecution.

The land was divided into three portions and regularised in the names of three owners: An extent of about 2707 Sq. M. to Sri Rama Cooperative Building Society; 2752 sq.m. in favour of one P. Venkatpathi Raju, and 2,870 Sq. M. in favour of Kasi Naga Kanaka Brahmam.

The then Collector clearly stated that the surplus vacant land that was originally owned by Addepalli Venkatappayya Sastry, was taken under possession as per the ULC Act by the Government in 2002, and handed over to the Mandal Revenue Officer for safe custody.

Hence, the transfer of ownership to the society and other parties does not arise, and further there is no genuine document supporting the transfer from the original owner.

In the cases pertaining to Venkatpathi Raju and Brahmam, the Collector pointed out that the regularisation was done based on Municipal property tax pass books that are suspected to be fabricated and fake.

To substantiate his claim, Mr. Singhal had written to the then Commissioner of Greater Visakha Municipal Corporation (GVMC) N. Srikant to authenticate the entries in the pass books. After a thorough investigation, the Commissioner declared that the pass book bearing no 100002/00078 at door no. 7-5-1/55/2 in Ward 21 in favour of Kasi Naga Kanaka Brahmam was fake and fabricated and was done in collusion with the e-Seva employees at the Asilmetta centre. The next Commissioner Mukesh Kumar Meena also certified that a similar modus operandi was implemented in the case of P. Venkatpathi Raju.

Regularisation

The realtors paid a sum of Rs.1,750 per sq.m. under the ULC regularisation process and got the lands regularised under GO 455, GO 256, 398 and 424.

Clause 23/4 of the ULC Act clearly states that if ULC land is regularised to private owners, the land has to be used for good cause, such as community centre or library. But in this case, it is being used to develop a high-end gated community.

Former Secretary of Government of India and the Convener of Forum for Better Visakha, E.A.S. Sarma said, “The realtors seem to have got prime ULC land for peanuts. The government rate is about Rs.32,000 per sq. yd and, if auctioned, as is normally done in case of ULC land, the government would have earned at least Rs.32 crores.

And most important, the site comes under CRZ-II, which prohibits construction of high rise buildings. It is surprising the government could regularise the lands, despite the Collector's and Commissioner's strong objection.”

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