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Plot transfer gets the nod
- Salt Lake sales okayed against payment of premium to govt

To put an end to underhand land deals in Salt Lake, the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government has “in principle” agreed to legitimise property transfer in the township.

The chief minister has cleared the long-standing proposal to legalise all past, present and future land transfers within a new framework, which is to come into effect soon.

“We have decided, in principle, to allow transfer of commercial and industrial plots in Salt Lake to increase business and industrial activity, and create employment opportunities,” said urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya.

The character of land, added the minister, will not be changed. So, if a property is earmarked as a commercial plot, it will have to remain so even after transfer. There are to be no changes in the existing rules regarding residential plots, he added.

The decision, which follows a similar step taken by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), is still being considered by the Cabinet.

“We have secured the chief minister’s approval, but as it is a major policy shift, it has to be endorsed by the Cabinet,” explained urban development secretary K.S. Rajendrakumar. “We will issue a notification and execute the new policy as soon as it is cleared,’’ he said.

Transfers are to be permitted against payment of a premium to the government, the rate of which will be fixed by a state valuer on the basis of market price.

The new rules would apply to those who have already transferred their plots, as well as any future dealings.

“The transferee must keep in mind the purpose for which the land has been transferred. We feel this will put an end to illegal land deals,” stressed the urban development secretary.

The DDA, too, had banned the transfer of land in its townships, but later reversed the rule as many lease-holders had been selling property covertly.

Chief secretary Ashok Gupta held a meeting on Tuesday with IT secretary G.D. Gautama and Rajendrakumar to review the current status of land in Sector V. A list of available plots and those that have already been transferred is to be prepared.

Unofficial estimates put the number of transferred plots at close to 1,500. This is a 12.5 sq km area, with 12,873 residential plots and 3,500 commercial plots, spread over 87 blocks (62 residential and 25 commercial).

The owners have taken advantage of an existing loophole by, apparently, identifying the transferees as their tenants, a practice that the government has ineffectually tried to stop.

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