UP govt allowed undue benefit of Rs 572.48 cr to developers in 2010: CAG report
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) audit report claimed that the Uttar Pradesh government allowed undue benefit of Rs 572.48 crore to developers at the cost of Ghaziabad Development Authority in 2010 by altering the land use indicated in the Master Plan without levying land-use conversion charges.
The report on Economic Sector and Public Sector Undertakings of Uttar Pradesh for the year ending March 31, 2018, was tabled in the state legislative assembly on Saturday.
The report stated that following the state government order of August 2001, the land-use conversion charges were to be levied on the net area of the land at the circle rates fixed by the district magistrate for the existing use of land. The government order had stated that rates of land-use conversion would be 50 percent in case of land-use conversion from agriculture to residential land.
According to the audit report, the state government, in May 2006, selected two developers for the development of hi-tech townships in Ghaziabad. The Master Plan- 2001 was in force, according to which the land use of the area designated for the hi-tech townships was agricultural.
In July 2005, the state government approved the Master Plan- 2021. It was provided that for the use of the land designated for hi-tech township, the developers selected by the state government shall have to pay the applicable land-use conversion charges and the remaining land shall be considered agricultural.
The two orders issued by the state government on May 18, 2006, and September 17, 2007, introducing the hi-tech township policy-2006 and 2007 also stipulated that the applicable land use conversion charges shall be payable by the developers, the CAG report said.
In an order on April 23, 2010, regarding Master Plan- 2021, the state government stated that there was no provision under the UP Urban Planning and Development Act, 1973 for showing land use as indicative for hi-tech township, the report added. The land had been shown in the Ghaziabad Master Plan- 2021 and, therefore, the land use will be considered residential. The land-use conversion charges would not be payable on this area, the state government said, according to the CAG report.
The CAG noticed that by the order issued on April 23, 2010, the housing and urban planning department, on the request of the developers, altered the indicated land use in the master plan to residential and, consequently, no charges for conversion of land use were, henceforth, payable by the two developers.
The CAG further noticed that the authority has approved (October 2010 to October 2013) the layout plans of the developers for an area of 4,772.19-acre land, which included 3,702.97-acre land indicatively earmarked as hi-tech township in the Master Plan - 2021, wherein land-use conversion charges of Rs 572.48 crore were to be levied on the developers.
However, due to state government order on April 23, 2010, the charges could not be levied. Thus the land use of agricultural land was changed to residential land without levying conversion charges, the CAG report said. This resulted in the extension of an undue benefit to the developers and loss to the authority of Rs 572.48 crore, the report said.