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Thursday, May 05, 2005

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AP Govt to conduct land survey

K.V. Kurmanath

Mr Dharmana Prasada Rao

Hyderabad , May 4

THE State Government has taken up a massive exercise to conduct a comprehensive land survey in the State and increase value of land at realistic levels.

In an interview to Business Line, Mr Dharmana Prasada Rao, Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation, said the survey, once completed, would trigger growth in economic activity.

"Once clear identification and ownership of land is done, it will lead to increased business and industrial activity as investors can use that land as collateral security. Also, the survey would settle disputes and more land is released to the market," he said.

Absence of basic records resulted in a plethora of problems. The worst hit was several Government programmes targeted at specific groups. Usually, a survey was conducted every 40 years.

The Integrated Land Information System was launched in Nizamabad district as a pilot project a few months ago.

"The Rs 20-crore pilot would be completed in two years. This will give us a model that can be replicated elsewhere. Once the pilot is over, it will take a year to complete the survey in the rest of the State," the Minister said.

The whole exercise was expected to cost Rs 200-300 crore. Simultaneously, the Government decided to increase land values to make them realistic. "On the other hand, we will reduce relevant taxes and fee proportionately. We have started an initiative this year and we hope to complete the process in five years," he said.

"There won't be any across-the-board raise in land value. Officials would take into consideration several factors in deciding the value in a particular place," Mr Prasada Rao said.

On other measures, the Minister said the Government would reorganise mandals and other revenue units based on the 2001 census. "We will do that after the completion of reorganisation of Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies," he said.

He said the Government had put the NALA (Non Agricultural Land Assessment) tax in abeyance.

For conversion of agricultural land for industrial use, the Government had started collecting a one-time fee. A draft bill, which was under way, would take a final view on this aspect.

The Government also set up a Cabinet Sub-committee to suggest ways to revamp the revenue administration at the grassroot levels to satisfy the needs of revenue consumers.

The Revenue Department registered collections of Rs 1,875 crore against a target of Rs 1,800 crore during 2004-05 through stamps and registration activity. The department projected a growth of 8.33 per cent for the current year.

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