Wednesday, January 1, 2014

An Artical about "LAND CONVERSION"

Purchasing house site is the dream of a Middle class person; family. Unprecedented growth of urban areas, due to Industrialization and consequent unending migration of rural folk, agricultural labour for employment opportunities and professionally qualified persons in search of greener pastures, migrate to metros, or mega cities A case in point is Bangalore. It was at one time aptly called as‘Pensioner’s Paradise.’ It was a pleasure to see elders slowly walking,chanting, Sir Vishnusahasranamam, in today’s commercial hub of the city like,Seshadripuram, Malleswaram, and Basavanagudi. Youngsters used to play cricket on the roadsides, footpaths were so large which could be used for learning cycling by children. Nowadays one has to walk holding one’s breath not sure whether he can reach home safe.

This unbridled growth of Bangalore with comparatively better income for most of the people has made demands on housing very great. This has led to many ways, legal, illegal, dubious, ethical or otherwise to own a piece of land and to have a shelter/roof over one’s head. Bangalore basically was small town surrounded by number of villages. Land Developers, who landed in Bangalore, started converting agricultural land into residential pockets. In villages, asmall residential area will be there, where houses of the farmers are situated;the houses there are given Khaneshmari No. And the residential pocket in a Village is called Gramathana, as distinct from village as such where gricultural land is surveyed and given Survey No. for each piece of land. Thus, every piece of land is assigned a Survey No.(except Kharab lands) which are classified into class ‘A’ and ‘B’, depending whether it can be made arable/cultivable, by making certain improvements and others whose nature cannot be changed. A legal procedure has been laid down for change of use of the land from agricultural purpose to non-agricultural-residential purpose.

This requires an order from the Deputy Commissioner. Purchase and possession, use of agricultural land by Non Agriculturalists, for purposes other than agricultural farming is prohibited in the State of Karnataka, by law However land duly converted by the Competent Authority can be purchased for development as Residential lay-outs. Hence, the question what is conversion of land.In simple terms, it is the permission granted by Revenue Authorities to change the usage pattern ofland from Agricultural to Non Agricultural - Residential or Industrial use. In and around cities and towns and espe- cially onthe outskirts of Bangalore, this is going on in a rapid phase. The Government had by its various Comprehensive Development plans, shrinking the size of agricultural land to almost 'Nil' around Bangalore.

A conversion Order passed by the Deputy Commissioner is a serious exercise scrupulously followed by the Revenue Authorities, after verifying the fact that there is no contravention of the provisions of the Karnataka Land Laws relating to the provisions of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1961, Karnataka Land Grant Rules, KPTCL Act, and the Land Revenue Rules relating to Green belt. Likewise verification is also done in respect of acquisition of anyscheme of the Government and the Bangalore Development Authority.

Thus, permission accorded by the Deputy Commissioner, for change of land use deems that there is no violation of any of the revenue rules prohibiting conversion of agricultural land. It is also relevant to bring forth that the burden of verification regarding the above laws lies only on the Tahsildar, and an applicant shall not be asked to provide any documents for the same. The said report prepared by the Tahsildar is then forwarded to the Deputy Commissioner, with his opinion; it is only on the receipt of the opinion that the Deputy Commissioner accords permission as mentioned above.

The Deputy Commissioner shall also verify and satisfy himself that the change of use does not cause any public nuisance and that the land sought to be converted are not inconsistent with the purpose specified in the Comprehensive Development Plan and the Outline Development Plans. Cumulatively it appears that the land on which permission is sought is clear as far as satisfying the requirements of law governing conversion and revenue.

On going through the conditions enumerated in the said Official Memorandum, certain duties and obligations are cast on the applicant namely the necessity for having the Layout Plan approved by the BDA/Local Authorities like the Panchayat, Pollution Control Board, etc., which on necessary applications clear the development of Layout as per the respective provisions contained in the Act.' Any prudent buyer of land should think twice before investing his hard earned money in land. Revenue lands are sometimes regularized, in Schemes like 'Akrama-Sakrama' and approved by the Revenue Authorities, However, if it is not regularized, a Damocles' sword hangs on the head, any time the title held on such 'Revenue site' is not absolute, free, marketable. In simple terms it is illegal and the buyer of such lands will be in jeopardy of losing the land, money, and cannot hope for any legal remedy, like compensation.

As the famous Doctrine 'caveat emptor' - 'Let the Buyer Beware' goes to say, any buyer interested in investing in land should thoroughly examine the titles, preferably by a qualified Advocate/Attorney, who can do a methodical investigation of title.
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