Public Purpose and Government Land

Land is a scarce resource and its use and utilisation is highly controlled and steered by the land market which is growing at leaps and bounds. There is already shortage of land in many cities for providing social infrastructure for the residents. Many a time the upgradation and widening of roads is avoided due to unavailability of public land. In many of the Indian cities there is shortage of green infrastructure and system of open spaces for healthy living. Public land is public property and its uses must serve the wider public and public interest.

Keeping in view the above inadequacies of land, the act of the so called guardian of the state like former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Vilasrao Deshmukh allotting about 20 acres of prime land in Goregaon to a private company for a paltry sum of money;the Madhya Pradesh government giving 20 acres in Bhopal district to the Kushabhau Thakre Memorial Trust in 2006 for a RS 1 as meagre annual lease rent; Left Front government in West Bengal allotting land to Sourav Ganguly for opening school; must be criticised.

Thanks to strong and impartial judiciary system of India that such cases have been properly dealt with.

The problem does not end here. We have to devise a fool proof mechanism of defining public purpose and guidelines for disposal of government land for any form of physical development.

The government land records should be made available in the public domain so that the land is monitored and there is transparency in the disposal and use of the land. A national database for land records can be created and each state must maintain the online updated records of the land especially the government land.

This type of transparent system of information sharing will expose any form of favouritism observed by anybody in power and there such be penalty like barring the person from holding public office in future.

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