Thursday, April 05, 2007

Study blames patwaris for SEZ woes



GURGAON: The carelessness of government patwaris while conducting land
record surveys has emerged as one of the crucial reasons leading to
controversial acquisition of land in areas notified for SEZ and
industrial projects.

Utkarsh, an NGO working actively with the displaced in West Bengal,
claims that in the case of Nandigram, the state was not even aware of
the existence of residential units in the notified area. The NGO's
spokesperson Sanjoy Bandopadhyay told ET, "Perhaps, the government did
not have an updated record of construction in that area. The villagers
were also at fault because they did not register their construction
activities with the authorities which is illegal. However, the
authorities should conduct a thorough survey in an area, before
notifying it for such large scale industrial projects. We have taken up
this matter with state as well as opposition parties and human rights

Nearer to Delhi, a similar case has been brought to light in Manesar.
HSIDC has imposed Sec 4 (intention to acquire) in an area near IMT
Manesar, which it claims is vacant. However, this has been contested by
the local organisation — Kamal Farm Owners' Association.

" It appears that no one has actually surveyed the area and the master
plan has been drawn based on inaccurate facts such as patwari's old
records. Many families have inhabited this area in the last 10-odd
years, and we have apprised the concerned authorities of the ground
situation," the association's president PK Saxena said.

Infact, there are many loopholes when patwaris update regulators such as
district revenue officer and town & country planner with development
records at the grass-roots. In the process such patwaris become centres
of power which leads to easy corruption. "For a common man in rural
areas, it's absolutely impossible to get construction activities entered
into government records, without paying a hefty sum of money to these
patwaris," Mr Saxena said.


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