Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Govt. Responds: Excerpts from the Draft Approach Paper of the 12th Five Year Plan 2012-2017

Excerpts from the Draft Approach Paper of the 12th Five Year Plan 2012-2017 (Page 78-79)

Common Pool Resources

7.46 Common pool resources (CPRs) or ‘commons’ play a key role in household food security in many parts of the country. These are characterized by rainfed agriculture and mixed farming systems. Several studies have shown that in rainfed regions, the subsidy derived from CPRs form a critical contribution to both livestock and agricultural production systems. The commons-livestock-agriculture interface is the foundation from which multiple production systems of rainfed areas derive their resilience. NSSO 54th Round estimated that the share of common pool land resources in the total geographical area of the country was around 15.0 per cent. Chopra and Gulati (2001) have re-classified India’s Agricultural Land Use Statistics data for 1991 to estimate the extent of common pool resources in 16 major states. Adopting this methodology, they estimate that the share of common pool land resources is around 26.0 per cent of the total geographical area of the country.

7.47 In rainfed regions, the subsidy derived from commons forms a critical contribution to both livestock and agricultural production systems. Hence, we need to strengthen the symbiotic relationship between commons, livestock and agriculture. This calls for a shift in orientation towards viewing commons in a livelihood framework as an essential part of the survival strategies of farming households. The critical role that commons play in livelihood security in rainfed regions should inform the current ongoing discussion on the ‘productive use’ of the commons.

7.48 For revitalizing the commons and strengthening the production systems of rainfed areas, the following measures need to be adopted:

  • Formulating a ‘Commons Policy’ with emphasis on security of tenure to the user community;
  • Initiating a community-led process of recording claims, verification and consolidation of community rights on common lands and to get such rights recorded in Record of Rights at Gram Panchayat level;
  • Devolving management and use rights of commons to village/habitation institutions as part of the decentralization process;
  • Stepping up public investments (to the extent of Rs 20,000 per hectare) for revitalising common land and water resources; a large proportion of these investments can be met through convergence with MGNREGA;
  • Developing a programme architecture at district and at sub-district level aligning interventions on CPRs within the larger natural resource management programmes.
  • Constituting an overarching planning and regulating authority at the district level where sectoral plans on agriculture, water, forests, industry and infrastructure are nested; and creating a robust database on common land and water resources as a decision-support to sustainable use of CPRs.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

News Article: Karnataka: Lying unwatched: Bengaluru's 1067 parks and playgrounds

Who is counting your parks and public open spaces? No one. A Citizen Matters expose on a blatant violation for over 25 years by Bengaluru's administrators.
By Navya P K

01 Feb 2011, Citizen Matters

For the last two years, a park-cum-playground in 30th main in JP Nagar 6th phase has lost almost a third of its area. This part of the site, which was designated for the park, was encroached for the construction of two temples. Today only the playground remains and the site itself is known after one of the temples. While one temple is a permanent structure and almost 75% of its work is complete, the other is a temporary structure.

Col Seshadri (Retd), a resident of the area, says, "This was a BDA Civic Amenity site. For over 20 years there have been disputes about how it would be used and three years back it was decided to be used as park and playground. Two years back the temple construction started; we have been complaining to various authorities, but there have been no steps for demolishing them," he says.

But the state has a law that mandates civic bodies to publicise information about all parks every year, to accept objections from public on any information listed and to demolish illegal structures based on these complaints.

The Karnataka Parks, Play-fields and Open spaces (Preservation and Regulation act), 1985, says that the local authority should publicise information about these spaces annually in a gazette and made available to public. But the law has remained only on paper so far.

Though BBMP was supposed to submit the report for the last 25 years, it is only in 2010 that it has taken this initiative. No survey was done after the formation of BBMP in 2007 from the erstwhile BMP and peripheral areas. There is also no updated information since the formation of new wards and zones.

Once BBMP submits the information to the government, citizens can raise objections in case of any errors or complaints - for instance, if a park has been encroached or has been converted for a different purpose.

Last year, BBMP's estate department submitted the data in two stages - one in May and second in June - but public has been largely unaware of the information. According to the law, after BBMP submits this preliminary information, public has three months to file objections. After considering objections, government issues a final notification approving the information.

"For instance, if someone has encroached a park, we serve him a notice. If he has any documents to prove ownership, the case will go to court. Otherwise BBMP can demolish his property," says M Devarajappa, Assistant Commissioner at BBMP (Estate).

Currently the information is published only in the official gazette, and not on BBMP's website.

BBMP's Horticulture Department publishes a list of city's parks here. The list, updated on June 2010, names plots - both developed and undeveloped - that are marked for parks. Mohamad Ali Pinjar, Superintendent of Horticulture (Yelahanka zone) says that the list does not include playgrounds and other open spaces. The Horticulture Department lists 1079 parks alone, higher than the Estate Department's listing of 1067 properties (which includes parks, play grounds and open spaces) for the city. Estate Department officials say that they would have an exhaustive list once the ongoing survey by their department is complete. Horticulture Department publishes more information regarding parks here.

This year, the only objection was from the government itself, where it had asked for a clarification, says Mujibullah Zaffari, Deputy Commissioner at the BBMP Estate department. "According to the law, this has to be published in gazette only. Public would not know about it, like most other government information," he says.

However, the data in its present form itself may not be useful. The prescribed format asks for the names of the parks/open spaces, the number of new such spaces that came during the year, and details of action taken by BBMP for maintaining the areas. In the list given by BBMP, only the names of the parks and open spaces have been mentioned; all other information is missing.

Zaffari says that the prescribed format is not clear. "I have submitted a different format - which gives the dimensions of parks, exact location etc - for the government's approval; the current format is not usable. Also there are no surveyors to give accurate information," he says.

The department has now appointed 15 surveyors; 1067 parks, play-fields and open spaces have been surveyed and 786 of these have been published, says Zaffari.

Citizen Matters has copies of both of BBMP's gazetted notifications of 2010. The first one, of 3rd May 2010 lists has 679 items (parks, play-fields or open spaces). Even if this list was published online it is incomprehensible to citizens because it contains no clear locality or ward level information conistently for all entries. The second list of 388 items gazetted in June 2010 is a little better - it has ward names for each park, play-field or open space.

UDD aware of the malaise

A senior official at the Urban Development Department (UDD), who does not wish to be named, says that the law itself is inadequate. "High levels of encroachment and wastage of public money can be prevented only if public and NGOs get information about what's there. Data on boundaries, measurements, assets within parks and investment made, should be published. As prescribed in the law, it should be updated annually and presented in the BBMP Council for public consumption," he says.

Another issue is that BBMP is responsible only for the parks coming under its jurisdiction. BDA publishes information about parks under its jurisdiction in its website. Information on parks and open spaces is available at (BDA gives information on Civic Amenity sites at

BDA Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena says that public can give their complaints about these sites, if any.

"The law does not assign responsibility to any particular body, so any organization that has parks under its jurisdiction, gives information separately. The responsibility has to be fixed on one body so that all information can be collected and published in media," says the UDD official.

Navya P K is a staff journalist

Saturday, November 19, 2011

News Article: Encroachers in Gujarat beware

Published: Saturday, Aug 7, 2010, 11:34 IST

By DNA Correspondent | Place: Gandhinagar | Agency: DNA

The government has decided to get strict with encroachers, who have encroached nearly 15 lakh sq. meter of land in urban areas and 32,000 hectare of land in rural areas of the state.The revenue department of the state government is planning to modify its present policy on encroachment.

The department had identified illegal encroachments on grazing lands, village lands and unused government land.

Sources in the state government have indicated that the revenue department is aggressively working on the modification of the policy. "An extensive survey has been carried out on state government land at taluka and village level. Some 26,677 encroachments were found on nearly 32,000 hectare of land in rural areas and 35,934 encroachments were identified on 15 lakh sq. meters land in 166 urban areas," an official in the department said. Surat has topped the list with the most encroached urban and rural areas.

There are 4,160 encroachments in urban area and 5,490 encroachments in rural areas in Surat.

Anand has the minimum encroachments in rural area at 5. With 60 encroachments, Jamnagar gets the credit for lowest encroachments in the urban areas. "We have found that once an encroachment is removed it reappears within days and thus the efforts go waste. The issue is frequently discussed in meeting and conferences of district collectors," said the source.

The source said that the penalty imposed on an encroacher is negligible and there are not many legal options available to stop them. A brainstorming on the issue finally made them decide to amend several sections of Revenue Act. "It has also been suggested that to prevent the rising encroachments in urban areas the land should be covered with a fencing or wall. There are some provisions in Panchayat Regulations to curb and remove encroachments in rural areas, but its implementation is limited to grazing land and village land," the source said.

The official said that the last amendment for removing encroachment was made in 198. "Now there will be an amendment for encroachments in urban areas as well. Section 61 of land revenue code will be modified for the urban areas, in which punitive action will be taken against encroachers and a bond will have to be signed by them agreeing not to encroach on the land again," said the source.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

News Article: Gujarat: Pastoral land shrinking, state mulls new policy


Posted: Wed Nov 09 2011, 02:01 hrs 


The state government has started the process of drafting a strict policy of not allowing any encroachment on pastoral (gauchar) land in villages against the interests of the local community.

The new policy could restrict land acquisition for industries, something that has been easy so far in the state, which has been a magnet for foreign investors.

In Gujarat, around 424 villages have no pastoral land left. The state should have 39.56 lakh hectares of grazing land, as per a revenue department notification issued in December 1988, which mandated 16 hectares (40 acres) of pastoral land for 100 animals in normal areas and 8 hectares (20 acres) for the same in forest areas. As against this, the state only has an estimated 8.5 lakh hectares, a data that has almost not changed since the state’s formation in 1960.

Now the new policy is being firmed up in the wake of a Supreme Court order passed earlier this year, which said that “pastoral land and other community resources belonging to a village shall not be given for industrial or commercial use and should strictly be used for communities’ use”.

A senior state revenue department official said a ministerial committee has been formed for working out various aspects of this policy in accordance with the SC order. “The department has also sought state legal department’s interpretation of the SC order,” the official said. “However, the SC has not said no to use of such land in the larger public good like building schools, health centres etc,” he added.

In its order, which related to a case from Punjab, the apex court had observed that “in many states, orders have been issued by the state governments permitting allotment of Gram Sabha land to private persons and commercial enterprises on payment of some money. In our opinion, all such government orders are illegal and should be ignored”.

The SC had directed all the state governments to formulate schemes for eviction of illegal/unauthorised occupants of land meant for Gram Sabha, Gram Panchayat and other community uses and said that “long duration of such illegal occupation or huge expenditure on constructions thereon or political connections must not be treated as a justification for condoning this illegal act or for regularising the illegal possession”.

In Gujarat, encroachment over pastoral land is becoming a serious problem. According to the state government’s own data as on September 2010, there were 50,771 encroachments in around 16,000 villages of which 36,960 encroachments are more then five years old.

A state government notification passed in 1999 had promised to compensate villagers whose pasture land was taken away. As per the notification, government was to charge 30% more from the party which was sold the pasture land and give it to the gram panchayat to buy alternate pasture land or develop one.

The scheme, however, has failed to make much headway.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

News Article: Karnataka: Task force aims to clear encroachments by 2011

Special Correspondent

37,000 acres of encroachments have been cleared across the State
Notices have been issued to 540 encroachers

CHICKBALLAPUR: Government Land Protection Task Force chairman V. Balasubramanian on Wednesday said that around 15 lakh acres of government land had been encroached upon in the State and the task force's target was to clear these encroachments by 2011-end.
Officials have so far identified around 12 lakh acres of government land that have been encroached upon in different parts of the State.

The survey was still on and it was estimated that the extent of encroachments might be around 15 lakh acres, Mr. Balasubramanian told presspersons here after reviewing land encroachment in Chickballapur district.

At reviews
During district/department reviews, officials have been told to clear encroachments within one year. “I hope that the entire encroachment would by cleared by December 2011, Mr. Balasubramanian told The Hindu.

So far, 37,000 acres of encroachments have been cleared across the State and notices issued to 540 encroachers by the jurisdictional tahsildars, under Section 192 (A) of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act (which empowers the Government to prosecute encroachers, including government officials who connive with them and fabricate the documents), he said. The task force has appointed five senior advocates, in addition to government advocates, to handle some of the high-profile cases of encroachments, in which notices have been issued, he said.

Largest here
The extent of encroachments was largest in Chickmagalur district, where 1.06 lakh acres was under illegal occupation. Of this, 36,000 acres was under forest area. In all, 1.42 acres of forest land had been encroached upon in the State, mainly in Chickmagalur, Uttar Kannada, Shimoga and Bangalore Rural districts, Mr. Balasubramanian said.

As hardly any Government land was available in Devanahalli taluk of Bangalore Rural district, encroachers had now apparently set their eyes on land in neighbouring Chickballapur, which is around 25 km from Bengaluru International Airport, he said.

In Chickballapur district, 37,000 acres of government land was under illegal occupation and the district administration had got back 12,000 acres, he said.

Initial probe
A preliminary probe had indicated that a leading real estate agency, which has developed a gated community and a golf course on a 300-acre area near the Nandi Hills, had encroached upon around 30 acres of government land, he said. There were about 38,000 tanks in the State and an estimated 10,000 of them had been encroached upon. However, officials were yet to ascertain the extent of tank encroachments, he said.

Mr. Balasubramanian appealed to the public to call him on him on 9845970092 and provide information on encroachments of government land. The callers need not reveal their identity, he said. Written information can be sent to the Chairman, Government Land Protection Task Force, II Floor, Deputy Commissioner's Office, City Civil Court Complex, K.G. Road, Bangalore 560009.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In Other Courts: HIGH COURT OF RAJASTHAN - Manish Purohit vs State (Revenue) & Ors

Manish Purohit vs State (Revenue) & Ors on 14 October, 2011

S.B. Civil Writ Petition No.3724/2011
Manish Purohit Vs. State of Rajasthan & Ors.

DATE OF ORDER: 14th October 2011

Mr.Madanlal Purohit, for the petitioner.

Having heard the learned counsel for the petitioner and having perused the material placed on record, this Court is not persuaded to entertain this writ petition.

The petitioner, said to be holding the office of Up-Sarpanch of Gram Panchayat Jhadol, District Udaipur has filed this writ petition essentially stating the grievance against setting apart and allotment of 1 hectare land for the purpose of establishment of an Industrial Training Institute ('ITI') out of the land of Khasra No.1176 of village Jhadol that was entered as Charagah. It is sought to be contended that the Gram Panchayat has taken specific resolutions against such allotment pointing out that the land in question is used for public functions and fair. The learned counsel for the petitioner has strenuously contended that village common land cannot be allowed to be used for other purpose like the present one i.e., establishment of an ITI; and has referred to the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Jagpal Singh & Ors. Vs. State of Punjab & Ors. : 2011 AIR SCW 990.

So far the Gram Panchayat is concerned, it is of course free to take recourse to the appropriate proceedings in accordance with law but so far the petitioner is concerned, at his instance, there appears no reason to issue any writ, order or direction in the matter where the S.B.Civil Writ Petition No.3724/2011

Collector, by his order dated 31.03.2010, has taken a specific decision for allotment of the land on 25 years' lease under the Rajasthan Land Revenue (Allotment of Unoccupied Government Agricultural Lands for Construction of Schools, Colleges, Dispensaries, Dharamshalas & Other Building of Public Utility) Rules, 1963 ['the Rules of 1963']. The suggestions as made by the petitioner regarding the use of this particular land appears to be rather incongruous where at one stage it is suggested that the land in question is recorded as Charagah and is not to be put to other use and on the other hand, it is suggested by the Panchayat that the land in question is situated near the abadi and it would be needed for the future abadi expansion and yet further, it is suggested that there was a mela ground near the land in question where about 15000 people would collect for the village fair. In any case, so far as the use as permitted by the Collector is concerned, the same cannot be said to be altogether contrary to or at contrast with the public purpose because establishment of an ITI has got its own element of public utility.

The reference to the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Jagpal Singh's case (supra) does not appear apposite because in the said case, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has been pleased to consider the matters relating to encroachment and construction on the common land by illegal occupants. The present one is not a case of any illegal occupant entering into the land in question as the same has specifically been allotted under the order passed by the Collector in accordance with Rules of 1963.

No case for interference in the writ jurisdiction is made out. The writ petition fails and is, therefore, dismissed. S.B.Civil Writ Petition No.3724/2011


Thursday, November 10, 2011

News Article: Himachal Pradesh: Villagers oppose land allotment to BSF, hold meeting

TNN Sep 19, 2011, 04.59am IST

DHARAMSHALA: Hundreds of villagers from 15 villages of Shahpur block in district Kangra who have been affected due to allotment of land for the BSF training centre held a meeting under the banner of 'bhumi bachao andolan' on Sunday. They charged that those whose land was taken for setting up of the BSF training centre were not taken into confidence and the training centre will pose problems for them as it would block various passages.

Gurcharan Singh, president of the sangharsh samiti alleged that the government had not taken no objection certificate from any of the villages before allotting the land to BSF training centre. "For establishing the central university the authorities split the campus, which would come up in Dehra, due to shortage of land here. Now how have they found such a big chunk of land for the BSF training centre," he wondered.

He added that the meeting is the starting phase of a "revolution" and they will not allow the authorities to establish the BSF training centre here. "We came to know about this land allotment recently when we saw a road under the NABARD project going till the villages near Bandi coming up," he said.

The Himachal cabinet had approved the transfer of four acres of land in the Mohal Bhoi area of Shahpur tehsil (Kangra district) to raise a Border Security Force (BSF) battalion in 2009. It was the first BSF battalion to come up in the region.

Lalman, Pradhan of the Bhitlu panchayat blamed the district authorities saying that "they are acting like the agents of the government for fulfilling their own motives."

Pradhan of the Dadhamb panchayat Madhubala said that, "It is shocking how the government obtained forest clearance and allotted the land without the consent of the local people."

The process to acquire land for the BSF training centre was started in 2007. Most of the about 700-800 kanals being acquired for the BSF training centre is common land, belonging to eight villages in the area. The common land is the area left out in villages for common purposes. The land in question had a forest.

The then affected panchayats moved resolutions and gave their common land to the state government. The state government then transferred it to the BSF. The state has already received about Rs 2 crore as compensation for the land from the BSF. Sources said some of the newly elected panchayats of the area had withdrawn the resolutions transferring their common land in the name of the government for the establishment of the BSF training centre. However, with the land acquisition and transfer process already completed, hardly anything could be done in the matter.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In Other Courts: HIGH COURT OF ALLAHABAD - Petitioner :- Ram Karan Vs. State Of U.P. And Others

eLegalix - Allahabad High Court Judgment Information System (Judgment/Order in Text Format)


Court No. - 2

Case :- WRIT - C No. - 25836 of 2011

Petitioner :- Ram Karan
Respondent :- State Of U.P. And Others
Petitioner Counsel :- S.P. Giri
Respondent Counsel :- C.S.C.

Hon'ble Ashok Bhushan,J.
Hon'ble Ran Vijai Singh,J. 

Heard counsel for the petitioner and learned Standing Counsel. 

No notice is being issued to respondents No. 4 and 5 in view of the order which is being proposed to be passed, however, liberty is reserved for private respondents to apply for variation or modification of this order if they feel so aggrieved. 

Petitioner's case in the writ petition is that plot No. 84 area 0.040 hectare is recorded as pond in the Khatauni 1470-1472 Fasali. Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that certain private persons including the respondents are filling the pond. The learned counsel for the petitioner relying on the judgment of the Apex Court in Jagpal Singh & Ors. Vs. State of Punjab & Ors. in Civil Appeal No. 1132 of 2011, decided on 28th January, 2011, has submitted that State authorities have to take action for eviction of unauthorised occupants from the disputed public land including pond. 

Under Section 122-B of U.P.Z.A.& L.R. Act, the respondent authority has ample jurisdiction to take action against the unauthorised occupation of the pond after drawing appropriate proceedings. 

In the facts and circumstances of the case, the Assistant Collector may look into the grievance of the petitioner and in case after inquiry it is found that any private person is in unauthorised occupation of pond, appropriate action be taken in accordance with law. 

With these observations, the petition is disposed of.
Order Date :- 9.5.2011

This is an UNCERTIFIED copy for information/reference. For authentic copy please refer to certified copy only. In case of any mistake, please bring it to the notice of Deputy Registrar(Copying).

Saturday, November 5, 2011

News Article: Karnataka: Gomaala lands are in danger

Chamarajanagar, Oct 17, DHNS:

The district administration has rejected the proposal of a private educational institution seeking ‘Gomaala’ of Yadapura on lease.

There is 179.22 acres of grazing land on survey number 124 of Yadapura. The institution had sought 51 acres of land for educational purpose on a lease for 30 years.

According to records there are 328 cattle in Yadapura, Uthuvalli and Shivapura villages. A minimum of 98 acres of land is necessary for grazing purpose. Moreover, the region comes under Chamarajanagar wildlife division. The deputy conservator of forests had written a letter to chief conservator of forest in 2010 to issue a notification under Karnataka Forest Act under Section 4, 1963, to grow forest under JSA funds. He has also clarified that an affidavit has been submitted to the Supreme Court to consider the land as deemed forest.

Meanwhile, an application (takraru arji) had been filed by villagers of Uttuvalli, Yadapura, Moodalapura, Mallaiahanapura, Galipura, Tavaregattemole, Shivapura, Kaduvinakatte Hundi and Veeranapura not to give the land to private parties.

The villagers claimed that gomaala was necessary for cattle of Shivapura and also warned the district administration of a protest if the land was given to private parties.

However, the district administration has submitted a report to the secretary of revenue department that according to Supreme Court order (civil appeal no 1132:20 SLP no 3109:2011), gomaala land should not to be used for other purposes. The report clarified that the gomaala at Yadapura cannot be given on a contract to anybody.

Illegal encroachment

Gomaala lands have been encroached upon illegally in the district. Also, there are reports that the encroached lands are being used for illegal activities. Gomaala lands at Jyothigowdanapura in Chamarajanagar taluk has been used for illegal mining purposes — incurring a loss of crores of rupees to the government.

Senior citizen Shanthappa said gomaala lands should not be utilised for other purposes and the Supreme Court had also issued a directive in this regard. The officials should take steps against the land mafia, which is trying to swallow public property.

Elected representatives and officials who should protect government land should not support such activities. They should try to create more facilities for cattle and the district administration should at least now take steps to protect gomaala land, he said.