Damning CAG report on land allotment to be tabled in Assembly

The Prithviraj Chavan-led state government has come in the eye of storm. Following demands by the Opposition, it will table the CAG report on irregularities in land allotments well before the State Legislature session ends.

The report, leaked by BJP MLA Devendra Fadnavis, will allow the Opposition to train its guns on prominent leaders in the ruling Congress-NCP government who are involved in the land allotments.

TRAINING GUNS? The CAG report, leaked by BJP MLA Devendra Fadnavis, severely reprimands the state’s policy on land allotment and monitoring

The report severely reprimands the state’s policy on land allotment and monitoring. The report slams the government for its tendency to turn a blind eye to blatant violations by the allottees. It also castigates the government for the absence of any land database.

According to the report, prime land was given to trusts, institutions and housing societies run by kin of Congress and NCP ministers such as Vilasrao Deshmukh, Narayan Rane, Chhagan Bhujbal, Dr Patangrao Kadam, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Harshwardhan Patil.

No database
After scrutinising the state largesse to these trusts and educational institutions since 2000, the CAG noticed that database of land was not available with the government or the collectorates.

Also, the land allotted free of cost or at concessional rates for specific purposes was irregularly utilised for commercial exploitation and other activities or was simply kept vacant. There are blatant violations of the conditions under which land was granted.

Further, action either to resume the land or recover the unearned income was not taken due to lackadaisical approach of the Revenue and the Forest Departments, the report says.

The CAG observes that the absence of follow-ups and lack of action on follow-up reports resulted in huge tracts of land lying idle with private persons/institutions for years. The monitoring mechanism was weak and ineffective.

There were cases of non-realisation of lease rent due to non-renewal, short determination of occupation price, incorrect waiver of licence fee, and avoidable payment of interest. The CAG has recommended that the government work on all these aspects.

CM says
Meanwhile, CM Prithviraj Chavan has said that action would be taken after the report is tabled in the Assembly. “I just received a copy of the CAG report yesterday. It will be taken to the Cabinet and due procedure will be followed, after which it will be tabled in the Assembly,” Chavan told media persons yesterday. 

Ministers should be answerable: Fadnavis
Speaking with MiD DAY, BJP MLA Devendra Fadnavis said that his party had on three occasions asked the government to table the audit reports of CAG.

“We had warned them that if they failed to do so, we’d reveal the report, as it has been observed that such reports have always been tabled on the concluding day of the State Legislature session.

“As the reports are made available on the last day, we cannot discuss them and they then go before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for further scrutiny.

And instead of Ministers, the onus is with government officials to appear before the PAC to justify the decisions. Now, we want that Ministers concerned should come out with their views and reasoning in the ongoing session itself.”

What’s the further course of action? “We will ask the government as to why norms were flouted to allot two plots in a particular city when the rules say the second allotment should be made by charging market price only.

Ex-CM Vilasrao Deshmukh allotted the Malvani plot to Manjra Trust, run by people close to him, ignoring four other contenders.”

Told that even his party members were beneficiaries in the past, Fadnavis said, “The allotments were made as per the government norms. No objections have been raised against our people. The Congress-NCP government did it by bypassing rules.”  

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