Such land allotments will now be done by the state government after examining the requirements of the applicant. In 2015, the state government framed a policy and allowed local bodies to allot land at concessional rates by adhering to the rules. Now, the government has asked these bodies not to allot land at concessions or at DLC rates without its nod.
An official at Urban Development and Housing (UDH) said, “The directorate of local bodies has issued the directions for the same. Every allotment, whether concessional or on rates, will need to seek the state government’s permission first. Disciplinary action will be taken against the official to allot land without approval.”
In 2015, the state government had devised a policy to allot land at concessional rates. This gave local bodies authority to allocate land at nominal rates to educational institutions, hospitals, trusts, social and religious organisations, a move that increasingly came under scrutiny. After five years, the state government has decided to roll back the policy and tighten the rules. Considering the growing population, limited and valuable land resources, the government move to intervene in land approval and utilisation is a wise one.
Sources said, as allotment at concessional rates to public and charitable institutions is considered as “primary attempt” to woo particular section of voters or certain influential sections, the Congress government in June on the directions of UDH minister Shanti Dhariwal carried out a scrutiny of such land deals. “Based on the survey, the department ceased the rights of the ULBs,” said source.
To ensure that the land allotted at concessional rate was not being misused for other purposes, the state government will examine and verify its usage. “The department in the past received several complaints that many institutes are using the land for commercial purposes. Also, they have rented out the place, which is against norms. Action will be taken against such institutes after examining the details,” said a source
Officials claimed many private hospitals, which are beneficiaries of concessional land, have failed to abide by the terms and conditions of providing free medication to 25% patients from below poverty line (BPL) category. “As per a mandatory provision, private hospitals which have been allotted land at concessional rates have to provide free medication to 25% BPL patients. Moreover, it is compulsory to fix an hour and provide free medical check-ups to poor patients at the outdoor patient’s department (OPD). Similarly, 10% beds should be reserved for the poor. However, majority of hospitals have failed to fulfil the terms and conditions. The issue was also raised in the state assembly when the Congress was in opposition,” an official source said.