BHUBANESWAR: Land sharks beware! For, grabbing government land will soon attract a prison term ranging between one and seven years along with a penalty. All such cases of grabbing would be tried by a special court.
The Odisha Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill, 2014, a draft copy of which is with this paper, outlines tough measures to arrest the rising trend of land grabbing in the State.
Anyone found to be in occupation of the land, except the rightful tenant, will be charged under the Act and face imprisonment for a term not less than one year but extendable up to seven years with a fine of Rs 20,000.
The Bill defines grabbing as organised attempt by a person or group of persons to take possession of the government land or even trying to create illegal tenancies, lease agreement and unauthorised construction of structures for sale or hire. It also includes acts of renting or leasing the land for construction under the scope of grabbing.
Similarly, people grabbing the land or providing financial help for such illegal measures and those collecting rent from illegal occupation of the government land will face the music when the new legislation comes into force.
Apart from direct grabbing, people offering such land for sale or even coming up with advertisements, instigating and inciting others to grab the land will be penalised under the proposed Act.
The punishment will be the same for them __ jail term for one to seven years and Rs 20,000 as fine.