Odisha to regularise land worth ₹4,000 crore encroached by educational institutes

A token ₹1 per acre per year towards assessment and penalty at ₹10 per acre per year may be charged, says Minister

The Odisha Government has approved a policy of regularisation of unauthorised occupation of government land by educational institutes. The worth of the land to be regularised is estimated at ₹4,000 crore.

The Cabinet under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday gave the go-ahead to the proposal.

Inability to pay the dues

“Due to the inability of the institutions to pay the dues like premium, incidental charges, annual ground rent, cess and encroachment fee with penalty and interest, the land is not recorded in their name. Under the new policy, land will be regularised in their favour,” said Sudam Marndi, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister.

Mr. Marndi said the State Government had way back in 1977 taken a policy decision to provide government land measuring up to 10 acres in urban areas and up to 15 acres in rural areas, free of premium, for establishment of colleges.

As per the Government, 51 government colleges and 644 aided colleges have under their occupation government land measuring 180 acres and 1,713 acres respectively. Similarly, 1,274 high schools are on the government land.

“The value of the land which will be regularised is ₹4,000 crore,” said Mr. Marndi.

The Cabinet decided that all land, irrespective of the extent of the area, under the occupation of standalone government degree colleges (including autonomous and non-autonomous colleges) and standalone government higher secondary schools will be recorded in the name of the Higher Education Department and the School and Mass Education Department respectively.

In case of aided degree colleges having autonomous status and non-autonomous aided degree colleges and aided higher secondary schools, land up to the extent specified in 1977 and 1998 policies — 10 acres in urban areas and 15 acres in rural areas — would be recorded in the name of the Higher Education Department and the School and Mass Education Department respectively.

“On settlement of such land, all previous encroachment cases booked by the revenue authorities would be dropped and a token amount of ₹1 per acre per year towards assessment and penalty at ₹10 per acre per year may be charged,” says the Cabinet decision. The cut-off date for consideration of occupation of government land by an institution will be January 1, 2020.

The Cabinet also gave its nod to the Odisha Electronics Policy 2021 to stimulate the electronics system design and manufacturing (ESDM) industry. The policy aspires to promote excellence and innovation in the electronics sector.

The Government decided to give exemption of electricity duty and electrical inspection fee for five years.

“The eligible ESDM units would be provided subsidy on power bill for five years at 30% limited to ₹50 lakhs per unit. It is proposed to give 100% exemption of stamp duty and 50% exemption on second transaction,” the new policy said.

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