WHILE REACTING TO The Tribune news story, ‘Punjab to resume ‘surplus’ land with developers’ filed by Ruchika M Khanna, regarding resumption of surplus land from the developers, Financial Commissioner (Revenue) KBS Sidhu today clarified about misgivings arising out of the circular published by the State Revenue Department on May 3, 2017 related to the implementation of Surplus Area/Ceiling Laws in State, he also stated that the news was highly misleading and mischievous.
Sidhu, who is also Special Chief Secretary (Revenue), categorically stated that the news item had placed selective contents of the circular out of context and misinterpreted it, while quoting unauthorized sources. Sidhu further said that the position of law as codified under the Punjab Land Reforms Act, 1972 continued to be the same. As such, the provisions pertaining to the Surplus Area were attracted only in respect of "agricultural land or land used for purposes of subservient thereto”.
Clarifying the issue, Financial Commissioner (Revenue) revealed that neither any amendment had been effected nor was any move on the anvil to change this basic position. In any case, land used for non-agricultural purposes like industrial use, development of residential/industrial colonies and townships and educational institutions continued to be out of the purview of this enactment, if permission for the change of land use had been obtained from the Competent Authority, even if the quantum of area held in the name of any single legal entity exceeded the permissible area stipulated under the law for agricultural purposes.
Sidhu further stated that the implication in the news that the Government was keen to retrieve land from promoters who had failed to implement mega-projects was highly misleading and mischievous. He emphasized that circular merely reiterated the enabling provision effected through an amendment in the year 2011, under which any person who acquired agricultural land in excess of the permissible area but intended to be put it for non-agricultural use, such as residential, commercial or institutional, had a one-year window to get such change of land use effected, without attracting provisions of the Punjab Land Reforms Act, 1972.