Gujarat govt cancels ‘illegal’ land transactions worth crores

GANDHINAGAR: The state government has ordered cancellation of all land transactions that took place during the past two years after approval by various districts collectors. Sources said a key reform announced in 2015 and meant to benefit farmers was misinterpreted by the collectors who used it to favour builders, industrialists and various co-operative societies.

In 2015, the state government had amended the Tenancy Act to help farmers save their land from being acquired by the government if the Tenancy Act was being violated.

Earlier, land given by the government to tenant farmers under the old Tenancy Act — i.e., before the 1915 amendment — could not be sold to non-farmers for non-agricultural purposes. If the law was violated, the government could seize the title of that land without any compensation.

However, to help farmers, the government made a key reform in 2015. The reformed law said that if the land concerned is with any farmer and earlier it was held by some non-farmer for a short duration, the farmer who possesses the land currently can get title to it by paying 10% of the jantri rate.

Several district collectors, however, misinterpreted the law and regularized land transactions worth crores of rupees even if the current possessor of the land was a non-farmer, real estate firm, industry, or any co-operative society. This caused loss of crores of rupees to the state exchequer.

On February 17 this year, the state revenue department issued a written order to collectors of Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Kheda and all other districts, to cancel all such revenue entries in the official records made after the 1915 reform.

In its order, the state revenue department said that provision in the amended law is very clear. If the owner who made the last revenue transaction happens to be a non-farmer, an entity like a non-farmer, agricultural co-operative, co-operative society, company or partnership firm, he cannot be allowed to transfer land under the amended law.


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