Assembly Passes Amendments To NALA Act
“It was observed that some revenue officers were misusing their discretionary powers either to harass the applicants or resorting to irregularities through undervaluation of lands during the land conversion.”
Hyderabad: The State Legislative Assembly has passed the Telangana Agricultural Land Conversion for Non Agricultural Purposes Bill, 2020 removing the controversial discretionary powers of the revenue officials concerned under Section 47 (A) of the existing Act. Thus, citizens can now apply for conversion of their agricultural lands for non-agricultural purposes through the Dharani portal, without any hurdles and obtain related passbook immediately after the land conversion.
Legislative Affairs Minister Vemula Prashanth Reddy who introduced the Bill in the Assembly here on Tuesday, said the amendments will simplify the land conversion process and bring transparency, besides preventing any irregularities. He said there were several complaints over harassment by certain revenue officials in this regard and it was also found that the undervaluation of lands by some revenue divisional officers had resulted in Rs 826 crore dues to the State exchequer. He said since 2016, the State government received only Rs 623 crore due to undervaluation of lands by the RDOs using their discretionary powers and causing losses.
“It was observed that some revenue officers were misusing their discretionary powers either to harass the applicants or resorting to irregularities through undervaluation of lands during the land conversion. The new amendment will prevent both,” he said.
As per the new provisions, people can submit their application to convert agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes and book a slot on the Dharani portal. The revenue divisional officer (RDO) will summon the applicant and complete the entire process including land conversion, online entry and also will issue a temporary e-passbook permitting usage of the land for non-agricultural purposes. The permanent passbook will be delivered to the residence of the applicant by mail.
Further, the State government has decided not to impose any penal charges against agricultural lands being used for non-agricultural purposes, if the land owners submits application within three months after diverting the agricultural lands for non-agricultural purposes. Earlier, the land owners had to pay 50 per cent of the conversion charges as penalty. The Minister said the amendments will bridge the gap in coordination between the revenue, panchayat raj and municipal authorities in identifying several agricultural lands which have been put to use for non-agricultural purposes without completing the due process.
Clarifying on the issues raised by the legislators, Prashanth Reddy said both the Endowments and Wakf lands have been locked in the Dharani portal and hence, their status cannot be changed. The Dharani website also prevents conversion of the land usage by encroachers without the knowledge of the land owner. He said as per available records, about 1.48 crore acres of pattadar passbooks have been entered into the Dharani portal forming about 95 per cent of the entire land records. The records of lands in dispute will be entered into the website, after the issues are resolved.