| A view of Rajiv Nagar. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
The long-pending dispute over settlement of 1024.52 acres in the Digha area is nearing a solution as the state urban development and housing department has notified the Digha Acquired Land Settlement Act, 2010.
The act, notified in the last week, aims at categorisation of land and through it, unauthorised occupants are to be regularised by way of final settlement of plots after giving compensation amount.
About the notification, urban development and housing department secretary S. Siddharth said: “The Digha Acquired Land Settlement Act, 2010, was passed by the Assembly and Council on April 20, 2010, and it has also been published in the state gazette but it was enacted through a government notification on November 27. The act has now come into force.”
The gazette notification of the act is being perceived to have made a small progress in resolving the long-pending dispute in the allotment of widespread land across the Ashiana-Digha road near Rajiv Nagar police station.
The Section 6 of the Digha act states that final settlement should be confined to an area of about 600 acres of land comprising of sectors 3,4,5,6,7,9,11 and 12, wherein the unlawful constructed area for residential and commercial purposes are spread over the maximum area of sector.
Section 7 of the act states that Bihar state Housing Board would be entitled to take possession of vacant land comprising an area of about 400 acres situated in sectors 1,2,5,8 and 10.
Section 3(f) of the act states that Bihar State Housing Board would have the right to reject unauthorised occupants who do not turn up in response to the notice made within 60 days to accept the scheme and pay settlement charges as determined by the board.
After the rejection of the unauthorised occupants, the land with all structures would be vested with the board and it may settle the same to any other person for housing or any other public purpose.
However, all provisions of this act can be implemented only with the support of the Digha Acquired Land Settlement rules and schemes, which are still to be framed by the state government. “The rules are under the consideration of the higher authorities and it would be implemented with the support of the Digha act after getting a nod from the cabinet,” said Siddharth.
The rules and schemes broadly prescribe provisions for regularising the encroached houses on 600 acres on the eastern side of Ashiana-Digha road by taking a penalty on the basis of their yearly income and the area on which they have done construction. It also prescribes for re-acquisition of around 300 acres on the western side of the road by paying compensation and ex gratia amount to landowners and repayment to allotees.
According to sources, the government had acquired plots in this area from farmers in 1974 at the rate of around Rs 2,200 per cottah. The state housing board had also deposited Rs 17.42 crore to the Patna district collector towards acquisition of the land.
Of 1024.52 acres, to be developed by the board, around 600 acres were sold by the erstwhile owners or farmers to other parties making it quite impossible for the board to execute the project.