Harried by incidences of encroachments on its properties, the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) has stepped up efforts to secure its land and assets across the state. The move comes in the wake of the ongoing legal wrangle over the properties of the Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the owner of the now defunct National Herald newspaper.
The party has sizeable portions of land, valued at over Rs 1,500 crore, spread across district and block headquarters. A majority of plots have been encroached partially or fully, or face litigation related to possession.
Recently BPCC president Ashok Choudhary set up an estate committee headed by former MLA Jagannath Prasad Rai to pursue the land encroachment issue with the concerned authorities and get possession of the land registered in the name of the party.
Choudhary, who is also education minister, said the BPCC was very serious about the issue.
“I have asked the committee chairman to get updated rent receipts of all the land belonging to the Congress, build boundary walls around them and make suitable constructions to earn some money by renting out the premises,” he added.
BPCC senior leader HK Verma admitted that some portion of the land got embroiled in litigation due to casual approach by the party leaders in the past.
“The party has been deprived of its possession on about 35 acre land housing Bihar Vidyapeeth, near Sadaquat Ashram, as it could not represent the case properly in the court. Besides, local people have built a school on a plot of the party located at Patepur block of Vaishali district,” said Verma.
Even the AJL is yet to get possession of about 21 katha of land at Adalatganj locality of the state capital owing to encroachments by locals.
The portion of land was leased out to AJL in 1988 for setting up its press. Land revenue minister Madan Mohan Jha, who belongs to the Congress, said the district administration had been told to remove encroachment.
“I will definitely look into the matter when any lease related complications crop up,” he added.
Rai said the committee was sorting out some legal issues to claim possession on plots belonging to the district committees of Chapra and Muzaffarpur.