The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Eviction suits slapped on Salt Lake land transfers

The government has initiated eviction suits against 15 plot-holders in Salt Lake for illegally transferring the land allotted to them.

In an affidavit filed in the high court on Friday, the urban development department stated that an inquiry committee had recommended that 283 plot-holders in the township be asked to return their illegally-transferred plots to the government.

Salt Lake plots are allotted on 999 years’ lease and cannot be transferred to anyone except immediate family members.

The order caught the current residents of the houses on the eviction list unawares. “What kind of a rule is this' It is just meant to harass us,” said R. Agarwal, who lives on the first floor of BB 105, which figures on the list.

It bears the nameplate Narayani Niwas in Hindi. The ground floor has been let out to a computer institute.

“The house was transferred about 10 years ago. It stayed shut for a long time. Earlier, a Bengali family used to live here,” said an aged neighbour.

Agarwal said he had moved in about five months ago. “The owner is Saradindu Sen. I file taxes on his behalf. He was my neighbour in Delhi. I married his adopted daughter.”

On request, he put in a call to Sen at his “Delhi residence”. Sen, however, said he was speaking from Ballygunge, where he had shifted. “They (Agarwal) built the house and have my power of attorney,” he said.

At AB 235, also on the list, domestic help Kanak Porel was keeping guard till the Chakrabortys returned from work. “They are here for some 10-12 years,” she said.

A neighbour, who teaches in a Kestopur school, confirmed that the house had changed hands in the late 1990s. “Owner Nrisingha Biswas died soon after. His wife now stays with one of their daughters abroad.”

From adopting the would-be buyer to making a will to effect the transfer and showing the transfer as a “gift” — various tools have been used to transact in properties in the township.

Friday’s affidavit followed a public interest litigation by advocate Ramaprosad Sarkar in March last year, alleging that many plot-holders in Salt Lake were transferring their land in violation of rules. The division bench of former Chief Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice N. Patheria had asked the urban development department to file a report.

The Salt Lake estate officer filed the affidavit to comply with the court directive.

“It is good that they have initiated eviction suits…Now, the question is whether that is enough to save the township from illegal land transfers,” said a senior citizen, resident of Salt Lake since the 70s.

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