Assembly passes legislation to exempt big tea estate from land ceiling

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Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source: Internet

Shimla, Mar 15

Keeping the motive to promote tea industry Himachal Pradesh Assembly passed a legislation amending HP Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1972 (Act 19 of 1973) to exempt the big tea estates from existing provisions of parent act which prevented sale and change of land use. The bill was brought by the government during the last Monsoon session and was tabled for the amendment by Revenue Minister Mahinder Singh Thakur in the HP Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1972 on Tuesday to exempt the big land holdings from its existing provisions.

Thakur stated that with an objective to promote tea industry in the state, the lands under tea estate were exempted from the operation of the Act under clause of Section 5 of this Act.  At present, Section 6-A and 7-A of the Act provide for change of land use and transfer of land under the tea estate with the prior permission of the state government. It has been observed that the lands under the tea estate have been invariably used for purposes other than tea plantation or have been transferred by way of sale etc by misusing these clauses which is against the spirit and intention of the legislation. He stated that in order to address the issue, a select committee in which MLAs of all political outfits have been included.  In its recommendations, the committee had stated that in order to promote the tea industry in the state there is a need to amend the Act by making suitable amendments in Sections 6-A and 7-A. This is being done to discourage change of land use and transfer of lands under the tea estate by way of sale etc.  In case of violations of the provisions of the Act, such lands will be vested with the government, he added.

Participating in the discussion, Ashish Butail of Congress said that the State Government should also include the small tea owners under the amendment so that they would transfer their lands. However minister said that Tea estate owners having less than 150 bigha are already covered under the land ceiling act however the landowners who own above 150 bigha  lands not exempted from the changing of land use.

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