Realty check for the chief minister
The Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led government issued more than 100 documents that changed, modified or clarified land development licence and change of land use (CLU) policies in 120 months
Oct 13, 2014
Source : The Times of India
Bhupinder Singh Hooda,Haryana CM


CHANDIGARH: BJP has picked up Robert Vadra's land deal with DLF to draw attention to corruption charges against the state's Congress government in the run-up to assembly polls.

The media, though, has long highlighted facts clearly showing that some state government decisions were not above board. Some examples:

a) While the Narendra Modi government in Delhi talks of doing away with 250 laws in the next parliamentary session, the state government in Haryana has set a record of sorts by changing just two land policies more than 100 times in 10 years. The Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led government issued more than 100 documents that changed, modified or clarified land development licence and change of land use (CLU) policies in 120 months.

On some instances, the government made changes on consecutive days. For example, on April 24, 2007, CM Hooda, as TCP minister, relaxed the definition of who could be called a reputed colonizer for the purpose of granting a licence. He soon also did away with the norm of depositing 100% external development charges, service charges and bank guarantees.

Another major change was relaxing the cap on how much land Huda could acquire to help a builder who failed to buy small patches of land within a proposed project. Such pockets could not be more than 10% of licensed area, till the Hooda government removed the cap altogether.

In 2008, the state government gave one-time relaxation to private schools whose applications were pending with the education department for want of recognition, to seek permission for change of land use. On one hand, the state had not even recognized such schools, but on the other, it allowed them to build infrastructure.

b) On September 12, 2014, hours before the model code of conduct came into effect, Hooda, as urban development minister, issued four new licences. The government had issued five the previous day.

Starting 1981, when DLF Universal was first given permission to develop 160 acres in Gurgaon, till the end of 2004, different state governments issued 312 licences to private builders. From 2005 to September 2014, the government of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda issued 1,226 licences in two tenures. Of these, 557 were granted during the first tenure.

After a small break of two months due to the state assembly polls on October 13, 2009, the licence issuing spree restarted on October 26. From that day to the end of its tenure, the government granted 669 licences, hindered only for a few months by a court stay order. During his 10-year regime, the CM gave licences for the development of close to 23,000 acres across the state. A major chunk of it was in Gurgaon.

c) Through his two tenures,Bhupinder Singh Hooda has held the urban housing development portfolio. He is also chairman of Town and Country Planning (TCP) department and Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda). He also held on to all associated portfolios like architecture, panchayat development, town and country planning and urban estates and urban local bodies.

He is also the chairman of Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation (HSIDC), even though he did not have the industries department with him. To top it all, in 2010, the government decided that the minister-in-charge, TCP department (Hooda) may only bring major policy framework cases for consideration of the council of ministers. After this, no other minister could bring up the issue related to licences during cabinet meetings.

d) The Hooda government thrice revised the master plan for development of the state's areas under NCR. The major change in these plans was increasing residential area, a realty goldmine. Residential land rose from 14,930 hectares (MP 2021) to 15,148 hectares (MP 2025) and then to 16,010 hectares (MP 2031). Commercial land, too, rose. Only industrial land fell from 5,441 hectares to 4,613 hectares.

e) The use of Section 4 and then Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, to ease the entry of private builders into any area, is another interesting story. In several cities and villages, the state government first issued a notification under Section 4 to announce it was going to acquire land in a certain area. When private developers bought the same land from panicking farmers at throwaway prices, the government issued notification under Section 6, declaring it was, after all, not going to acquire the land. The state government is estimated to have made available more than 8,000 acres of land to private builders in several cities and villages.

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