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CAG Pulls Up Land And Development Office For Poor Control Over Its Properties

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The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) also said there was no sanctioned building plan in eight properties out of the sampled 29 properties, and the department had been demanding the same from the lessee.

Apex auditor CAG on Tuesday pulled up the Land and Development Office for not having adequate control over its properties, saying it was not able to manage the lease administration efficiently as there was “irregular” inspection and “inadequate” documentation of the leased properties.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) also said there was no sanctioned building plan in eight properties out of the sampled 29 properties, and the department had been demanding the same from the lessee.

It was not clear how the Land and Development Office (L&DO), which comes under the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, conducted inspections without the sanctioned building plans, the CAG said in a report tabled in parliament on Tuesday.

The report stated that the audit observed that in 19 cases, dues towards damage, misuse, interest, among others, amounting to Rs 444.08 crore were outstanding.

It stated that for receipt of outstanding dues, demand letters in respect of only 20 properties (out of 29 sampled properties) amounting to Rs 326.54 crore were last issued to the lessees between June 1977 to December 2019, of which L&DO could not recover Rs 325.12 crore (99.57 per cent).

“L&DO did not calculate and review dues from leases, nor did it enforce them on defaulters in a timely manner. Despite the allottees’ failure to deposit the dues, no action was taken.
“The allottees were reaping all the benefits of their assets while failing to meet their obligations in terms of charges for misuse and unauthorisd constructions,” the CAG report stated.

It also stated that L&DO did not have adequate control over its properties and was not able to manage the lease administration efficiently and effectively.

The CAG also observed that L&DO was allotting plots to various entities for construction of their building and running their activities.

“It was seen that in three cases, L&DO had to cancel the allotment of plot and allot another plot in lieu of the same for reasons such as allotment of encroached plot, smaller plot, etc., which shows that L&DO was not aware of the actual status of the properties vested under its control,” it said.

The report also cited such a case study involving the All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC) for which land was allotted in March 2011.

“The possession of land could not be handed over to AITMC due to encroachment. Thereafter, another plot was allotted on ‘as is where is basis’ to AITMC at DDU Marg in December 2013. Before handing over the land, AITMC inspected the plot and found that it was also not free from encroachment and refused to take possession of the encroached plot,” it stated.

Thereafter, L&DO conducted the inspection of the plot in April 2019 and two temples (unauthorizsd) were found at the site. L&DO replied in December 2020 that the plot at Rouse Avenue initially allotted to AITMC could not be handed over as the Delhi Wakf Board did not allow demarcation of the land claiming that the land in question belongs to the Delhi Wakf Board, it said.

Therefore, two other plots at DDU Marg were allotted to AITMC on “as is where is basis” on December 20, 2013 subject to amalgamation of the two plots.

“AITMC refused to take over the possession as two temples were situated on the site. The requisite action for removal of encroachment from the allotted land had already been initiated and land would be offered for allotment to AITMC. Even then if AITMC refuses the offer, allotment will be cancelled and earmarked land will be put to alternative use,” it said.
L&DO had further replied in April 2021 that temples in Delhi could be removed by the Religious Committee of the Delhi government.

“It is evident from the reply that L&DO was not aware of the encroachment before allotment. Further, L&DO could not get the encroachment removed even after seven years of allotment,” it added.

The CAG report added that L&DO has so far not issued any specific instructions to sub-registrar offices that the properties under the control of L&DO should not be registered without its permission.

“In the absence of such instructions, the sub-registrar offices would not be in a position to identify the properties belonging to L&DO for registration purposes,” it said.

Source: PTI

(The story has been published from a wire feed without modifications to the text. Only the heading has been changed)

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