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Karnataka government move to sell ‘B’ Kharab land may benefit companies

A number of existing and new industrial units and real estate and housing projects are expected to benefit from the Karnataka Cabinet’s recent decision to grant (sell) permanently the pieces of government land (‘B’ kharab) sandwiched in plots of lands they are in possession of.

Karnataka’s revenue regulations classify such government lands meant for public use in rural areas as ‘B’ kharab. In several cases, however, they are not in public use and stuck between private properties, industries, educational institutions, religious and welfare intuitions, and revenue authorities refer to them as “land locked government lands”. In fact, in some cases, new industrial units, including in backward districts, have not been able to start work as they have not been able to sort out ‘B’ kharab land issues.

Law minister JC Madhuswamy said last week that there have been many applications from private plot owners requesting deputy commissioners and tahsildars to convert (reclassify) the ‘B’ kharab lands into ‘A’ kharab, which can be privately owned.

The revenue department, headed by minister R Ashoka, proposed granting such ‘B’ kharab plots for a price since members of the public are anyway not using them nor are they serving any public purpose.

The Cabinet has, however, decided to grant (sell) such plots of land in rural areas at four times the guidance value (market rate) plots in the area command. The government is amending the Karnataka Land Grant Rules, 1969, to facilitate such sale. Such a provision, however, already exists for urban areas. A large industry in Ramanagara district, for instance, has been struggling to sort out its land issue, having been stuck with an acre of ‘B’ kharab land in its vast industrial campus.

The Cabinet, however, has decided to sell only such plots where people are not using them. The government will not grant (sell) such plots that are of use to the public, the law minister had said recently. Before deciding to sell a ‘B’ kharab plot or not, the government will call for objections from members of the public, and examine them before taking a view. “In several cases, the nature of land has changed so much it cannot be recovered for public purpose. Such kharab lands are also stuck between many real estate and housing projects,” the law minister said. He denied suggestions that the government was selling plots of government land to battle Karnataka’s severe financial crisis.

“This is a step in the right direction. This will help industrial units and other institutions legally own such plots they are already in possession of, and put them to productive use, scale up industrial units and add jobs,” Shekar Viswanathan, vice-chairman at Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said.

Real estate group Credai Bengaluru president Kishore Jain termed the government decision as a progressive move which will remove litigation and ambiguity.


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