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Home / Cities / Inquiry ordered into land deals made during previous Cong regime

Inquiry ordered into land deals made during previous Cong regime

The government will inquire into whether the deals violated section 118 of the 1972 law, which bars all non-agriculturist Himachalis, including bona fide Himachalis, from purchasing land in the state without the government’s permission

cities Updated: Aug 10, 2020 17:34 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla

Shimla The Himachal Pradesh government has ordered an inquiry into alleged benami (proxy) land deals during the previous Congress regime, suspecting that these agreements were done in violation of Land Tenancy Act, 1972.

The government will inquire into whether the deals violated section 118 of the 1972 law, which bars all non-agriculturist Himachalis, including bona fide Himachalis, from purchasing land in the state without the government’s permission.

State jal shakti minister Mahender Singh Thakur after getting additional portfolio of the revenue department, has directed deputy commissioners in all 12 districts to collect details on land deals made during the Congress regime. Thakur has also ordered the DCs to gather details on the change of the land use, made during the Congress regime, particularly the estates in Palampur and Dharamshala.

The Congress government during its regime from 2015-2019 had granted 468 permissions for different purposes that included industries, hotels, tourism projects, power projects and for other business purposes in Kangra, Una Sirmaur and Solan districts. Over 200 permissions were granted to set up tourism projects in all districts of the state. The BJP, itself, since assuming power had granted 204 permissions in 2019 for extension of land use and other purposes under Section 118 of the act.

In 2012, before the assembly election, Congress had launched a ‘Himachal for Sale’ campaign against Prem Kumar Dhumal-led BJP government. This was after the BJP regime (2011) tried to find a way out to allow the sale of tea gardens and change their land use. In 2015 and 2016, the Congress also placed the matter before the cabinet twice, but there was no consensus among ministers.

Previously, former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal had set up a commission comprising a retired high court judge, DP Sood, to inquire into such deals. The panel was asked to probe ‘benami’ deals that took place between 2003 and 2011 and look into violations of provisions and administrative procedures regarding issuance of “essentially certificates” since the HP Apartments & Property Regulation Act, 2005, came into force. On assuming power, the Congress dumped this report.

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