Committee to review Himachal land laws: Dhumal
Shimla: Following allegations by the opposition Congress party over land allocations in the state, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Wednesday said a committee of legislators has been constituted to look into the issue.
The seven-member committee, headed by legislator Suresh Bhardwaj, will review the Himachal Pradesh Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 2005, Dhumal said.
He said unsubstantial and baseless allegations have damaged the image of the government.
"Certain news items in newspapers have created an image outside the state that the entire state is on sale," Dhumal told reporters at a function here.
Without naming anyone, the Chief Minister said the opposition has been making a hue and cry over relaxing norms to allow realtors to set up housing complexes across the state.
"The fact is that 2,068 permissions were granted by the previous Congress government to the people who are not Himachalis while the present government has granted permission to only 1,297 in its three-and-half-year rule," he claimed.
"If the apartment act requires some amendments (to check the builders), the committee would make suggestions. It will examine whether the state requires the act or not. It will review all permissions granted till March 31," the Chief Minister said.
"If any illegality is noted in issuing the essentiality certificate, a judicial inquiry would be conducted," he said.
Dhumal's assertions followed former five-time chief minister and union Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Virbhadra Singh's scathing attack against the state government on corruption.
Singh, who was in Shimla April 2, alleged that top political functionaries in the state were involved in illegal property transactions and were promoting realtors.
Assembly proceedings were disrupted March 18 by the Congress over Bemloe Development and Infrastructure Company allegedly felling trees in a forested area in Shimla for developing cottages.
Under Himachal Pradesh land laws, only the state's permanent residents can buy land in the state. Others who want to purchase land for non-agricultural purposes have to seek relaxation under Section 118 of the tenancy and land reforms law from the government.
The opposition also questioned the government on the permission granted to another company, the Karnal-based Optima Construction Private Limited, for setting up a housing project in the resort town of Kasauli in Solan district.