The Uttarakhand cabinet has given its nod to granting ownership rights to land lessees, besides approving social media policy and job quota for statehood activists.
The cabinet approval to land ownership rights to lessees is being termed as a political victory of former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna under whose regime the government had decided to grant landownership of Category 4 (illegally occupied government land) to the lessees in 2013.
However, before his decision could get the cabinet nod, he was replaced with his bête noir Harish Rawat.
Recently, Bahuguna had written a letter to chief minister Rawat, threatening to take out a rally if the latter failed to get the cabinet approval to the decision by February 15.
On Tuesday, the Rawat cabinet approved the decision, besides announcing a number of exemptions on the registration fees.
Briefing the reporters, additional chief secretary Rakesh Sharma said that now SC/ST land lessees wouldn’t be charged registration fees for transfer of up to 3.125 acres of land. The same criterion would be applicable to those belonging to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Antyodaya (poorest of the poor) categories. The general category lessees have been granted three months to one year relaxation for paying the fee, he said.
The cabinet has also approved a proposal for appointing settlement commissioners for resolving the landownership disputes involving those who were relocated to Udham Singh Nagar district.
The government’s newly introduced policy allowing conversion of agriculture land for non-agricultural purposes also got the cabinet nod.
“The policy would permit land use change for setting up private universities, hospitals and schools etc,” Sharma said, claiming that the move would help attract private investment. The cabinet had also approved a proposal whereby conversion of land in notified urban
areas would be easily carried out.
The people in the highland areas would also be able to avail themselves of the facility.
The proposal for subsidising half of the pending dues of R52 crore for sugarcane growers was also cleared during the cabinet meeting.
Chief secretary N Ravishankar said that the cabinet had approved closure of Gadarpur sugar mill, but its employees woud be rehabilitated in other sugar mills.