Land ceiling amendment act sent to Select Committee

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Shimla, Aug 12

Himachal Pradesh Government decided to hand over the Himachal Pradesh Land ceiling amendment bill 2021 to select committee in the Assembly here on Thursday. After the question hour Revenue Minister Mahinder Singh Thakur presented the bill for discussion and passing in Assembly but Cong Member Ashish Butail vehemently opposed the legislation stating that the intention of the bill may be welcoming but he had a few reservations about its clauses. “We have challenged some provision and section of HP Ceiling and amended act 1972 in the court as matter is pending before SC.” Butail who belonged to the main tea estate constituency Palampur said that Kangra valley tea association filed this petition. Member said that SC has issued notice to State about the provision of sec. 6-A and 7-A of the aforesaid act for not permitting land use Change in the permissible area.

He said that the state government has stated in an affidavit that there would be no need to take permission for land-use change for landowners in the permissible limit. “Since the matter is pending before the SC, state has come out with amendment act in the Assembly proposing amendment in section 6- A and 7- A, ” stated Butail during the discussion.

Introducing amendment in the house he said that he wanted that those who do not own excess area in the tea estate, having small and permissible holding should be left out from its preview.

Opposing the move Butail said if this legislation would be passed in its present form, the state government will cease to have any control over the matter forever.

He said that government should not pass this bill till the court decides the matter, s govt interference in the matter would affect the interest of a number of people who belong to many areas of Kangra, Mandi, and Chamba districts in the state.

The government should not put the land of tea estates into a non- allotable pool or cease its ambit as, then, it would no longer be able to acquire or buy this land in the public interest for various developmental projects and building Institutions.

Member also said that Sec 4 of parent act clearly defines the limit of Sec 6 and 7 of act as during transfer of such properties Government permission is required.  The state should also allow the small landowners under tea estate ownership to register land and transfer to their families.

CPI(M) member Rakesh Singha said that he was part of this committee which was headed by revenue minister Mahinder Singh and all these issues had come for serious discussion before the high power committee. He said that he did not have any doubt over the intent of State to stop land-use change since the matter was pending in SC and, if it is subjudice, then why a legislation has been presented in the house, asked Singha.

This legislation continues in the Tea industry since British Raj in the states of Himachal Pradesh and Assam. It is related to the existence of the economy also plays an important role even today.

He said that Palampur University is on tea estate land today as govt maintained its ambit on impermissible land. He said that passing the bill without addressing his and Butail amendment would be creating an imbalanced legislation in the greater interest of state.

If Govt didn’t want to accept their amendment this legislation should be sent to select committee of Vidhan sabha where this Land ceiling amendment legislation should be discussed clause vise again under the concerned members of Assembly along with leading lawyers of Himachal Pradesh High court and Parliamentary affairs Minister Suresh Bhardwaj.

BJP member Arun Kumar also demanded that it should be send to select committee as few small tea estate owners of his Assembly segment would be affected by the new legislation.

 He said that many owners of tea estate lands did not have enough land for the construction of houses should be exempted from its preview.

Later Parliamentary affairs Minister Suresh Bhardwaj and Revenue Minister Mahinder Singh Thakur agreed to send the legislation before Select Committee conce

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