K Chandrasekhar Rao smells a rat in change land use pleas
Change of land use (land conversion) is largely misused
Apr 24, 2015
Source : The Times of India


HYDERABAD: Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has serious doubts over genuineness of requests for change of land use, which he reportedly obliged unwittingly. After having cleared more than a hundred files pertaining to such requests, he grew suspicious and now ordered that all the decisions be kept in abeyance. 

Since change of land use (land conversion) is largely misused and has become a money minting source for officials involved in the process, Chandrasekhar Rao, a couple of days ago, ordered that all land conversion files, cleared since December 1, 2014, should be kept on hold and a probe carried out in each case. 

Government approval is needed for change of land use . For instance, if a particular area is earmarked for residential purpose and the government wants to allow an industry there, the developer needs to seek change of land use. Similarly, it can convert a particular piece of land to commercial use from residential or recreational or vice-versa. 

The provision for land conversion is meant for use in case of genuine needs of the people and the government also can make exceptions when required to allow use of land for a purpose other than what it is set aside for. 

In the HMDA, the files are handled by Director-II (planning) and the same officer is also in-charge of Change of Land Use wing at the MA&UD department. There have not been proper checks in the authority on the necessity of land conversion. 

Official sources said nearly 158 files were received by the MA&UD department since December last year. Of them, the CM cleared 109 files as he holds the portfolio of municipal administration department. The files were recommended for change of land use by the HMDA, GHMC and Kakatiya Urban Development Authority (Kuda) and Director of Town and Country Planning (DTCP). Of those cleared, about 35 files pertained to conversion of land use to industrial purposes from residential and conservation (green belt and parks). 

Land conversion requests piled up with the MA&UD department for the past one year as there was no committee since December 2013 to September 2014. The committee was constituted by the TRS government only in September, 2014 with the principal secretary of MA&UD department and HMDA metropolitan commissioner, GHMC commissioner and others as members. 

Officials are of the opinion that the people are seeking land conversion due to several mistakes in the master plan prepared by the HMDA. For instance, Lakadaram village near Patancheru is an industrial zone and mining quarries have come in the area for the past one decade. But this was earmarked as conservation zone by the authority. Now the local industrialists are seeking change of land use. 

"There were several mistakes in the master plan which need to be rectified. The state government ordered us to look into the issue," MA&UD department principal secretary MG Gopal told TOI. 

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