HYDERABAD: The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and other government agencies, which take over private properties for various purposes, will have to cough up more compensation for acquiring properties from January 1, 2014.
Though property owners can cheer about the new Land Acquisition Bill which will come into force from January 1, the civic body and other departments have to shell out more compensation to the property owners. GHMC has been spending about Rs 300 crore every year on acquisition of properties and its bill is likely to increase to Rs 500 crore.
Property owners would be major beneficiaries as they would get more compensation with increase of solatium to 100% from the existing 30%. In simple words, if the compensation is Rs one lakh, the owners would henceforth get Rs one lakh more towards solatium. The other benefit property owners would get is that the compensation has been exempted from income tax. Until now, the authorities used to deduct 10.3% of the compensation amount as income tax and 20.6% if the owner does not have a PAN card or failed to submit it while disbursing the amount. These two factors would benefit the property owners to a great extent, but increase burden on the corporation.
Over 1,500 property owners in the Old City who might lose their valuable land for the metro rail project, 50 owners for construction of Tolichowki flyover and over 100 on Raidurg junction-University of Hyderabad road widening are likely to get more compensation as the land acquisition process is yet to begin. The HMDA has been planning to take up the peripheral ring road (PRR) by acquiring some properties. The land losers are likely to get more compensation compared to Outer Ring Road (ORR) oustees.
Sources said the GHMC has to pass award on 116 properties in Hyderabad district limits and another 174 properties in Rangareddy district for various works and all these owners might get better compensation packages.
Over 1,000 properties, on an average, would be acquired every year by the GHMC for expansion of roads, construction of flyovers, remodeling of nalas and other purposes. Other government departments like Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) and Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) acquire properties for metro rail project and radial roads.
To avoid delays and legal problems, most properties were being taken over by taking consent from the owners and only 20% to 30% were taken over by invoking the Land Acquisition Act, where property owners refused to part their properties.
Officials said any government organization has to think twice before mooting any proposal of land acquisition. The department proposing land acquisition has to get a social impact study done on whether the acquisition is inevitable or not and, if necessary, impact of such move. If necessary, environmental impact study has to be done by the authority.
GHMC officials said there was no clarity on issues like whether social impact study was required for even road widening and increase of solatium should be applicable in consent case as the owners get compensation as per prevailing market rates, while the Act says only highest registration rates (government value) in the area in the past three years. It is also unclear whether the new rules would be applicable to the draft notifications.
When contacted, GHMC land acquisition officer N Suryakala has admitted that the new Land Acquisition Act would further drain the corporation. The bill details and clarity on some issues would be known after the revenue department issues an order on implementation of the new bill, she added.