The cash-strapped State government, which had issued an order to allow permanent grant of leased land to private organisations, is hoping that the move will generate ₹2,250 crore from Bengaluru alone.

Principal Secretary of Revenue Department N. Manjunath Prasad told The Hindu that 921 acres that were leased to private organisations are available for permanent grant in BBMP limits.

As per the order issued by the State government on July 6, under Section 27 of Karnataka Land Grant Rules, private organisations that had received land on lease for industries, education, welfare activities, religious and agricultural purposes can request for permanent grant.

The order states that if an organisation wants to use the land for the purpose it was leased, it has to pay the existing guidance value. If an organisation wishes to use the land for another purpose, it will have to pay double the guidance value.

When how much revenue the State government expects to generate by awarding permanent grant of land, Mr. Prasad said, “The State government has directed the deputy commissioner to submit a report. As of now, we have estimated ₹2,250 crore for Bengaluru.”

S.R. Hiremath from Samaj Parivartana Samudaya said, “The State government has taken a dangerous route. We have been advocating that while the government should only lease land for industries and other purposes as generating employment is important, it should continue to be the owner of the land.”

He cited the example of private medical colleges. “A majority of institutions had received land from the government, but now when we are facing a health crisis, the State government is literally begging them to provide beds to treat COVID-19 patients. The order talks about guidance value to grant land. Guidance value is far lower than the market value. This will pave the way for corruption practices,” he added.

While issuing the order, the government had cited that permanent land grants will help improve the State’s finances. Citing loss of revenue sources due to lockdown, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa had announced that 12,000 BDA sites will be auctioned in phases to generate ₹15,000 crore. After the CM’s announcement, the BDA had e-auctioned 195 sites and managed to sell 166 sites. E-auctioning of sites will help the BDA generate ₹210.82 crore.

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