Chandigarh, April 9 (IANS) Nearly 360 acres of prime land in Gurgaon has landed in the hands of private colonizers and developers, thanks to "poor planning" of the Haryana government.
This has happened at the cost of the state government's own development agency, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), which has failed to develop the area in Gurgaon in recent years, states a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on land acquisition in Haryana.
Pulling up the Town and Country Planning (TCP) department for unplanned release of land to developers and builders, the CAG report stated: "Due to inadequate planning in issuance of licences to private colonizers and developers, HUDA could not develop the area in accordance with the development plan."
For developing residential sectors 58 to 63 and 65 to 67 in Gurgaon, a notification under Section 4 for acquiring 1,407.07 acres of land from private landowners was issued in June 2009. A declaration under Section 6 was made in May 2010 for acquiring 850.10 acres of land.
"The government released the notified land from the acquisition process in violation of the Land Acquisition Act, which adversely affected the development plans of HUDA," the report said, adding that the urban estates department (UED) and other agencies had to make extra payments and bear loss of interest due to wrong parking of funds.
The Haryana government allowed the release of 359 acres of land to private colonizers and developers, leaving over 491 acres of scattered land for development by HUDA.
"As meaningful urban development was not possible with the balance 491.10 acres of land, the land acquisition proceedings were abandoned. Thus, due to inadequate planning in issuance of licences to private colonizers and developers, HUDA could not develop the area in accordance with the development plan," the report said.
"The committee observed that area released to developers was not planned properly with the result that land available for the announcement of award was scattered in approximately 153 pockets ranging from few marlas to few acres. Keeping in view the opinion of apex court given on April 19, 2012, against the large scale exclusion of land from acquisition proceedings in favour of the developers, the committee decided to abandon the acquisition of land for development of sectors," the report said.
"The report found that poor planning resulted in affecting development plans of HUDA. At the same time, private colonizers and developers benefitted," Haryana's Principal Accountant General (Audit), Onkar Nath, told IANS.
Following the CAG objections, the principal secretary, TCP, stated in November 2012 that the release of land was not in violation of the Land Release Policy of 2007.
The response of the TCP department was however rejected by the CAG in its report, stating it was "not appropriate".
"The reply was not appropriate as after starting the proceedings for acquiring land for a public purpose by the UED, a major part of the land was released for developers, which was indicative of ill-planning," the report said.
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org