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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Uttarakhand Contemplates Stricter Land Acquisition Laws Amid Protests and Policy Revisions

In response to widespread protests across various districts, Uttarakhand is poised to introduce significant amendments to its land laws, aiming to impose more stringent restrictions on land acquisition by individuals from other states.

In 2003, the then Chief Minister ND Tiwari had amended the law, permitting “outsiders” to buy land in hill areas, with a cap of 500 sqm. Subsequently, the BJP-led government under BC Khanduri reduced this limit to 250 sqm to curb the sale and purchase of large plots in hilly districts. However, in 2017, former Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat lifted all such restrictions to encourage investments in the hilly regions.

While there are currently no restrictions for individuals from other states purchasing land in municipal areas, local residents are now advocating for a reduction in the allowable land size to 250 sqm, and they are pushing for a complete ban on land sales in rural areas.

To address these concerns, the state government has established a five-member committee to thoroughly examine a draft report submitted by a panel led by former Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar in 2022, which included 23 recommendations. It is anticipated that, based on these recommendations, the state may reinstate a limit on the sale and purchase of land in hilly areas, restricting it to 12.5 acres. Furthermore, provisions may be toughened for individuals from other states seeking to acquire land, both within and outside municipal limits.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, expressing commitment to the welfare of Uttarakhand’s residents, stated on Tuesday, “A decision that benefits the people of Uttarakhand will be reached shortly.”

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