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Uttarakhand Land Ordinance

The fight for land in Uttarakhand

26-Aug-2007
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Life for many has changed with the creation of Uttarakhand. For some life has become better, for some not so “better”. For a few life has become better than what they had even dreamt of, while others wonder if this is what they had dreamt of.

Perhaps the only people who have had a real windfall since the creation of Uttarakhand are those engaged in Real Estate business. Intense speculation had led to land prices doubling in as little as a year. Given that 60% of all transactions are done in black, the dazzle of this business is there for all to see. How much was the contribution of this segment of our society in the struggle for creation of Uttarakhand is a point to ponder about. How many of them were here during the struggle is a still bigger question. The people who actually struggled for this State have been left high and dry. Is this the state they dreamt of, where even a small piece of land is beyond their reach?

The aggressive reaction of the people engaged in Real Estate business to the enactment of Uttarakhand Land Reforms Act ordinance underscores the need of land reforms in Uttarakhand.

The strike on last Saturday reflects the fight between the innocent middle class people of the State and rich Real Estate Dealers, who are desperate because of the dwindling in their huge profits. Whatever little success they can claim to have achieved was only due to use of muscle power and should not be mistaken for sympathy for their cause.

Who wins this fight will determine the future of people of Uttarakhand, the silent majority or the vocal few. Should Uttarakhand should be a heaven for tourists, pilgrims, nature enthusiasts or a haven for land sharks? It is up to each of us to decide. Being a part of dissenting silent majority is not the right answer. As Nick Homer, executive director of “Good Citizen” in US put it: “The ‘Silent Majority’? There is no "Silent Majority". It's an oxymoron. In a democracy, when the majority is silent, they are the minority.” So, we all must speak up; in this fight for land in Uttarakhand, there can be no neutrals.
Is there really a fight over land? And is the “fight” between an Uttarakhandi and an “outsider” or between economic principles and political posturing? It is very easy to get swayed by the tunes of a “regionalistic” rag-a-tag band, but then laws should be based on sound facts and not emotions.

Land is a commodity and like any other commodity it should be freely bought and sold. The owner of any commodity is logically empowered to deal with the commodity as he best deems fit. How would you feel if the Government told you to grow onions in a plot you bought to build your dream house? The same shock could also be felt by a villager who has been told that he can only grow vegetables in a piece of land, which would have fetched him handsome returns in the pre-ordinance days. Closing options in asset management by law, for people is not a correct policy. Similarly forcing a farmer to continue farming in his land against his will is against principles of natural justice.

The requirement for permission to sell more than 250sq.m of agricultural land is bound to increase corruption, as has been the experience with all the past permissions and licenses. Giving bureaucrats discretionary powers in an otherwise simple transaction between two people is against the principles of good governance. And people gradually learn to bypass legal constraints by greasing the palms of officials.

Should distinction be made between buyers based on their ethnicity? It would be unfair to expect anyone to refuse a good offer for his or her land just because the buyer is from outside the State. So, would that lead to a massive influx of “outsiders” into Uttarakhand and change its demographic profile? Would people with such concerns support Article 370 in J&K? BJP which wants to abolish the article in J&K so that all Indians can buy land in that state is apparently applying a different yardstick to Uttarakhand. If India is a multi-cultural and multi-linguistic nation, should Uttarakhand be different?

Price of any commodity, including land, is determined by demand and supply in a free economy. Any attempt to artificially control it is bound to fail. So the recent drop in land prices after the passage of the ordinance is bad economics. What is needed to control the runaway prices is not a complete ban but efforts to clean up the Real Estate business and its regulation. Should headache be treated by cutting off the head?
The Solution


Real Estate business at present resembles the wild West. Everybody is hunting for gold. Rules are sparse and few and meant to be broken. Nobody knows how many players are there and there are no rules to play by. Anyone can join in and leave the game, as and when he desires and has absolutely no legal liability. If total turnover is taken as a criterion, this business must be the largest unorganized sector in our country.

To help the ordinary people and curb excessive speculation, this sector needs to be regularized, not by the Government but by the players themselves. If they do not do it themselves, then the Government should step in and organize it for them.

As a first step Real Estate dealers must be licensed. If Doctors, Engineers, Accountants, Nurses, technicians and even roadside vendors can be licensed, why should Property Dealers be an exception? All dealers should get together and elect office bearers of Indian Realtors Association – from city branches to a State Branch and then maybe a National Office or vice versa. This association should form rules and a code of conduct for its members, license them and be a forum for redressal of grievances of public.

All registries should have the name of the Real Estate Dealer written in them. This will force all persons involved to declare the transactions in their annual returns, plus increase the income tax collections of the government.

Further, Real Estate Agents should be required to verify details of any property they sell. This will give legal protection to innocent people who are duped into buying disputed or bad properties.

The Government looses a lot of money by the “routine practice” of undervaluing the property during registry and giving the balance money in black. To reduce this Circle Rates should be made realistic and properties found substantially undervalued should not be accepted for registry or the property could simply be acquired by paying 10% more than the quoted price and auctioned. Mere threat of such a possibility will have dramatic effect.

Annual Returns should be filed indicating all the deals which they facilitated and also all deals in which they appeared as witnesses. One would not expect anyone to spend time repeatedly appearing as a witness without any material benefit.

Finally, the practice of blocking a property by giving a token amount and then selling it off to someone else for profit, without ever paying the full price of it or getting it registered in one’s name, needs to be curtailed as it increases speculative transactions and fuels price rise


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Date30-Dec-15
From: I like to party, not look arectlis up online. You made it happen.
I like to party, not look arectlis up online. You made it happen.


Date14-Oct-15
From: The the exams will be starting on march, all the best feinrds.. now start your studies If you can help me than please let me know any link where i can get last year exams papers of maths, physics and chemistry, I need all these urgently
The the exams will be starting on march, all the best feinrds.. now start your studies If you can help me than please let me know any link where i can get last year exams papers of maths, physics and chemistry, I need all these urgently


Date19-Jul-15
From: Manjeet Singh
This article, it seems to me, has been written after a deep-thought,research and keeping in mind sincere concern for the people of Uttaranchal,tourists and pilgrims visiting the State. It is quite useful and, I am sure, would be very effective to curb the unscrupulous real estate lobby if implemented with honest political will and much-needed periodical administrative checks and reviews in order to see the desired results these recommendations aim for.


Date19-Jul-15
From: Manjeet Singh
This article, it seems to me, has been written after a deep-thought,research and keeping in mind sincere concern for the people of Uttaranchal,tourists and pilgrims visiting the State. It is quite useful and, I am sure, would be very effective to curb the unscrupulous real estate lobby if implemented with honest political will and much-needed periodical administrative checks and reviews in order to see the desired results these recommendations aim for.


Date22-Jan-11
From: akhil
iam lookin for land in forest area for opening a resort the land should be accessible to road and should be economical also


Date19-Dec-10
From: PREM SINGH
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF IN LARGE INVESTMENT IN UTTRAKHND MUMBAI


Date29-Oct-10
From: Pranav Singh
Your update on property in Uttra Khand is quite informative. I am not a Uttra Khand Resident Nor I own any property, but I am interested in setting up Wellness resort cum spa in Uttra Khand.Minimum land requirement shall be around 2.5 acres. Please advise me. Regards, Pranav


Date29-Oct-10
From: Pranav Singh
Your update on property in Uttra Khand is quite informative. I am not a Uttra Khand Resident Nor I own any property, but I am interested in setting up Wellness resort cum spa in Uttra Khand.Minimum land requirement shall be around 2.5 acres. Please advise me. Regards, Pranav


Date24-Aug-10
From: pavinder sharma
what is the circle rate in manila.


Date22-Jun-10
From: sunil
What is the process for buying more than 250 square meter land in Uttaranchal for outsider


Date19-Jun-10
From: pankaj kumar tyagi
Must compliment on your article.I am a nature lover & am not a resident of uttarakhand but wish to purchase orchard/farmland(15-20 nali)with existing,or to construct a farm house in nainital distt.Pl. advice LEGAL means to fullfill my dream. Further would i or my legal heirs be free to sell the property if required?


Date19-Jun-10
From: pankaj kumar tyagi
Must compliment on your article.I am a nature lover & am not a resident of uttarakhand but wish to purchase orchard/farmland(15-20 nali)with existing,or to construct a farm house in nainital distt.Pl. advice LEGAL means to fullfill my dream. Further would i or my legal heirs be free to sell the property if required?


Date16-Jun-10
From: dalbeer
uttarkhand amendment land laws ditails with case


Date23-Dec-09
From: sanjay arya
I'm impressed by the article.but what about the forward trading that is still in existence.How far is it safe to buy a property from an agent who has been legally empowered by the owner to sell the said property?


Date04-Jul-08
From: sanjay arya
your article is really thought-provoking.i think the stamp act needs to be amended.when govt. is fully aware of exorbitant high price of property.why not then circle rates in particular area be raised.? a property return both from a vendor and vendee should be obtained at the time of registration of proerty.


Date14-Jun-08
From: varun
sir, i really liked your article, i have a small query. i intend to buy a small peice of land for residential purposes. will i be able to sell it according to the existing law of the land? i am a non-domicile of uttrakhand pls advice thanks


Date14-May-08
From: Ravinder Aggarwal
Dear sir Your article is a good PRAYAS, and must be complimented. Sir I have a querry, I(A non-tanure holder (Outsider)have purchased a plot of 250 mtrs. in rural area of Uttrakhand from a Bhumidhar with transferring rights and got the same registered at Registering authority Nanital. Now I want to sell it but The Registering authority Nanital has refused to allow the resale. Sir Please guide me what should I do. Thanks


Date04-Apr-08
From: Jaspal
If in a free country everything should be allowed to be sold freely, then what about women?




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