Visakhapatnam: Simhachalam lands GO an eyewash, say activists

Earlier, the government had issued GO 578 in 1997 seeking 70 per cent of the registered land value, but it was revoked within 10 years .

Visakhapatnam: Putting an end to the decades-old issue of Simhachalam Devasthanam lands, the state government has issued two GOs for regularisation of occupations of houses and vacant sites in five villages Panchagramalu.

The residents of the houses in these villages are elated since the land rates quoted are a fraction of the current market value. While the people below the poverty line would get the free of cost, others need to pay the value prevailing in 1998.

However, activists say this is not the right solution to Simhachalam Inam land issue. They call it a political stunt before elections. If the government was really committed to resolve the matter, it should have passed the GO five years ago, as promised by the Chief Minister, activists say.

Forum for Development of North Andhra general secretary A. Aja Sarma said, “It is a lengthy procedure to apply for occupancy certificate. If it is not accepted, then one has to file an appeal to the competent authority. The process may not be completed this year.”

He added, “In the meantime, someone may move court and get a stay order as happened earlier. Many property owners don’t accept Simhachalam Devasthanam as rightful owner of these lands. Even former district collector reported them as estate villages.”

According to AP Inams Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari Act, the Inam estates were abolished and the land in a complete village cannot be given as inam. Several occupants question the ownership of Devasthanam based on this law.

Moreover, there is no mention about the land above 500 sq yd in the GO. About 540 farmers are surviving on 1,700-acre land.

Meanwhile, real estate developers have intensified their activities in these lands. This regularisation exercise is likely to benefit them.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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