The Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) has rapped the Maharashtra government for lack of a mechanism to carry out a periodic review of the lands allotted to Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and other state undertakings. Such a mechanism, according to the CAG, was necessary to ensure that land not required by these undertakings would be available to the government for other welfare measures.
MIDC is the nodal agency for achieving balanced industrial development in the state. According to the CAG, nearly 532.78 hectare of land was lying unutilised for various periods raning from four to 22 years due to non finalization of layout plan, non establishment of industries and non availability of water. Besides, the CAG also castigated the Maharashtra government as nearly 446.86 hectare of land were lying unutilized for various periods ranging from five years to 36 years.
Similarly, the CAG also pulled up the state government for not maintaining data base of land. It was also revealed that land distribution register giving details of land, area and purpose was not being maintained at the collectorates at Mumbai Suburban District, Pune and Thane.
Similar register of government land leased was either not maintained or want not updated or improperly maintained in Nagpur collectorate. The CAG observed that absence of the register with relevant details deprived the collectorates from monitoring the cases relating to breach of conditions, keeping track of cases where lease period have expired.
Ironically, the CAG report, whose CD was presented by the BJP legislator Devendra Phadnis in the state assembly, said no specific time period was mentioned for utilisation of land at the time of allotment of these lands. About 1 lakh hectare of land has been in the possession of MIDC and part of which has been used to promote industrial units and provide infrastructure facilities to them.
The government has announced that the CAG reports would be tabled in the state legislature on April 16, just four days before ongoing budget session ends of April 20.
According to the CAG, nearly 12.15 hectare allocated to Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation was lying vacant for 24 years, 19.73 hectare to Maharashtra State Power Generation Company for five years, 408.50 hectare to Maharashtra State Mining Corporation for 36 years and 4.40 hectare to Development Corporation of Konkan for 32 years.
The CAG in its report said land was a premium asset, the value of which always shows an increasing trend due to which it has an impact on the state's economy. "Due to this the state government has an important role to play in land management and in making land available for various purpose such as residential/industrial and commercial. Land is a major source of revenue to the government in the form of sale/alienation of land, lease/ground rent and conversion charges. In order to ascertain whether the disposal of government land was in accordance to existing rules and regulation the performance audit was taken up," CAR said.
The CAG has suggested that a system be evolved for ensuring utmost care in grant of land to private institutions for the purpose of education, health and other activities to dissuade them from misusing the land for commercial purpose.
Besides, the CAG has called upon the government to put in place a system of periodic returns to the government so that the collectors take prompt action in case of violations for resumption of such lands at once or recovery of the penalty. According to the CAG, the government may consider prescribing a mechanism to conduct periodic surveys to ensure that land allotted was being utilized for the purpose for which it was granted and terms and conditions under which land was allotted was not being violated.