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.

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