The long pending dispute over settlement of 1024.52 acres in Digha area came to a close with the state cabinet on Tuesday approving the “Digha Land Acquisition Settlement Scheme 2014”. The scheme aims at fixing the rate at which disputed land could be settled between stakeholders — like existing occupant, the allottees, original land owners and Bihar State Housing Board (BSHB).
The Telegraph decodes the much- awaited scheme for readers.
What does the scheme envisage for existing land occupants?
The settlement of land in favour of unauthorised occupants would be done after realising the settlement charge at the minimum value register (MVR) rate. Occupants having less than two cottahs will have to pay 25 per cent of the MVR. Occupants of over two cottahs would have to pay 50 per cent of MVR. Similarly, if the plot is located on main or principal road, the occupant will have to deposit 75 per cent of MVR as settlement charge. Settlement is 100 per cent of MVR for commercial plots
Would occupants need to pay registration charges?
Yes, occupants would need to pay an additional 8 per cent as stamp duty and another two per cent as court fee.
How would original landowners be paid?
The original landowners, who had refused to take compensation against land acquisition in 1974, would be paid ex-gratia against their land as per existing MVR applicable in the area. For instance, the original owner of one cottah of land in disputed Rajiv Nagar area can expect ex-gratia payment of around Rs 27 lakh (the existing MVR).
How would refund be made to the allottees?
The allottees who could not be initially allotted land due to the dispute, would be refunded allotment application amount at 8 per cent compounded annually. BSHB allotted the land through lottery in the ’90s, and the per cottah allotment amount was around Rs 30,000.
What was the need for the scheme?
The scheme would put an end to the 40-year-long dispute over the plot. The state government acquired plots across Ashiana-Digha Road near the existing Rajiv Nagar police station from farmers in 1974 at Rs 2,200 per cottah. BSHB had deposited Rs 17.42 crore with Patna district collector for land acquisition. Of 1024.52 acres to be developed by BSHB, around 600 acres were sold by the erstwhile owners/farmers to other parties, making it impossible for the board to execute the project. It also created a mess over ownership of land between original landowners, allottees and occupants.
The urban development and housing department came up with the Digha Acquired Land Settlement Act in 2010, which was notified in November, 2013. However, the Act necessitated its corresponding rules or schemes for effective implementation, which has been done with this scheme.