Thursday, January 20, 2022

Lal Lakir in all villages across Punjab, small farmers to possess encroached land at less price

To facilitate villagers/owners to monetise property rights and avail various benefits provided by government departments/institutions and banks, the Punjab Cabinet on Friday approved implementation of Mission Lal Lakir in all the villages across the state.

As no Record of Rights is available for such properties within the Lal Lakir, the same cannot currently be monetized as per real value of the property and no mortgages etc. can be created on such properties. There are households within the Lal Lakir which do not own property other than the areas within the Lal Lakir and are thus at a disadvantage when it comes to monetizing or realising the real value of the property.

Under Mission Lal Lakir, Right of Record of properties within Lal Lakir in the Villages of the State will be prepared, with cooperation of Government of India under the SVAMITVA Scheme. This will enable mapping the land, households, habitation and all other areas falling within the Lal Lakir.

The SVAMITVA scheme was handled by the Rural Development and Panchayats Department, but on the directives of the Chief Minister, it will now be transferred to Revenue & Rehabilitation department.

The implementation of Mission Lal Lakir would go a long way in improving living standard of villagers and boosting their self-esteem. Issues arising out of rights relating to these properties would now be dealt with through a litigation being drafted specially for these Lal Lakir properties. The common lands within the Lal Lakir, such as ponds, common gathering areas and even passages and streets, which were facing encroachments due to non-availability/creation of record to maintain these assets, will now be protected under the Mission.

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 UNAUTHORISED SMALL/MARGINAL FARMERS TO BE ALLOTTED ENCROACHED LAND IN THEIR POSSESSION

 In another significant decision, the Cabinet also gave approval to ‘The Punjab (Welfare and Settlement of Landless, Marginal and Small Occupant Farmers) Allotment of State Government Land Rules, 2021’ in order to make allotment of encroached lands to unauthorized small and marginal farmers on the basis of a rational criteria by sale of land at a predetermined price.

This would ensure a fair balance for the occupants who have been in possession since long, and for the Government to get its due revenue in respect of the unauthorized occupation of Government lands and also settle unnecessary long pending litigation.

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The new rules would provide a mechanism for the receipt and process of the applications to be received under the Act. The eligible person under the Act would apply to the Allotment Commissioner, who would issue an allotment letter after seeking report from Patwari with due diligence. The allotment letter would be issued on payment of 25% of the total allotment price and the rest of the 75% payment would have to be paid in lumpsum or in six equated instalments. In case of default in payment of 25% of the allotment price, allotment letter would not be issued and the allotment would be revoked. In case of default in payment of the instalments as per the allotment letter, the payment would be allowed to be made along with 6% interest on delayed payment within three months of the final payment due. After the payment of the entire sum, the conveyance deed would be registered in the name of the farmer.

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It may be recalled that, as per the recommendations of the State Revenue Commission to allot lands to the landless, medium and small farmers at a fixed price on rational criteria as a legal framework for resolving welfare and various other disputes, another Act – ‘The Punjab (Welfare and Settlement of Landless, Marginal and Small Occupant Farmers) Allotment of State Government Land Act, 2021’ – was earlier passed to provide revenue to the government from illegal occupation of government land as well as to settle unnecessary pending lawsuits, so that proper balance can be struck between the two.

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