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Govt scales down promise of bonus
- 30% extra only for best plots acquired

Calcutta, June 6: Only 'highly developed urban land with direct access to highways, avenues or arterial roads' will fetch owners the 30 per cent bonus over market value so far believed to be payable to all those who lose their plots in the acquisition drive.

In a government order dated May 26, the land and land reforms department has said the price of all classes of land should be determined 'on the basis of connectivity with and access to different types of roads as well as on account of its locational advantage'.

Lesser the connectivity, lower the bonus.

The government is set to acquire almost 40,000 acres across south Bengal in the next six months to make room for industry.

When land and land re- forms minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah had announced the compensation formula for the land losers on May 23, there was no mention of the conditions applicable for the maximum bonus.

The government had promised 130 per cent of the market value of the land and an additional 10 per cent to the land owners if they gave away their plot voluntarily. A 12 per cent interest was promised in case of delayed payment.

The May 26 order says: 'In the interest of proper and appropriate justice to the land losers, all attempts should be taken to award enhanced price for each parcel of land, to the extent possible.'

To implement this policy, two schedules have been attached to the order spelling out the compensation formula.

The additional sections reveal the conditions applicable.

Semi-urban plots with direct access to highways, avenues and arterial roads would fetch a maximum additional price of 25 per cent of the market value, while land close to other major roads would draw an extra 20 per cent.

Rural land in 'non-municipal urbanised areas, haat-bazaar, growth centres, market places, developed settlements and human habitats as well as commercially used areas' will fetch a lesser bonus.

Plots in double or triple- crop 'areas near municipalities' would fetch an additional 20 per cent at the most, even if they have direct access to highways. The rate will be lower ' 15 to 5 per cent ' for the same type of land in 'interior rural areas predominantly used for agricultural and allied activities'.

Urban landowners in medium developed areas will be entitled to a maximum 20 per cent extra 'over the average land value fixed by the local municipality'.

A section of farmers has been resisting the takeover of 1,000 acres for the Tatas' small-car plant at Singur in Hooghly, 45 km from Calcutta, though they are under the impression that all of them are entitled to the 30 per cent bonus.

The latest order asks the officials to 'discard too high and too low sales of land' while fixing the 'fair and reasonable average value'.

The 'market value' has been defined as the value of land mentioned in the concerned deed of sale. But the 'real market price' will be based on the 'sale deeds of similar land in the nearest past as well as in the nearest vicinity'.

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