It may not be easy for private parties or individuals to seek government land at throwaway prices in Uttarakhand, courtesy new objections raised by the finance department.
The objections come at a time when proposals are put before the Uttarakhand government for setting up a private university at Haridwar for which land was sought from the government.
After getting initial clearances, revenue minister Diwakar Bhatt sent the file to the finance department which in turn rejected the proposal saying there is no provision in the existing policy to give land at concessional price. The department also called for a proper land policy to decide future allotment of government land for social causes. With this objection, the land allotment for the private university was deferred.
After what has happened in the past we cannot say much. But in future, we should not allow the government land to be given free or even for a token money, said a government official.
However, the official remained sceptical when asked whether the chief minister can use his discretionary powers to give land for such purposes. We have made it amply clear that there should be a new policy for government land allotment, sdded the official.
In the past, the government had allotted land to industries like Tata Motors, private parties and politicians at throw away prices or in some cases at only a token money. The BJP government as well as the erstwhile Congress government had faced several allegations of corruption and nepotism on the allotment of government land to certain NGOs and private parties in the name of development or social cause.
The official also cited the case related to the allotment of 20 acres of land to late Kushabhau Thakre Trust by the Madhya Pradesh government, which was declared illegal by the Supreme Court.
In this judgment, the apex court ruled that the allotment of land to such organisations/institutions on political considerations or by way of favouritism or nepotism or with a view to nurture the vote bank for future is constitutionally impermissible.
When contacted, principal secretary finance, Alok Kumar Jain confirmed that the department has raised objection to the land allotment to a private university at cheap rates. On the other hand, principal secretary revenue, P C Sharma admitted that the government land allotment in future may not be easy.