Shimla, March 15
The Vidhan Sabha today passed the Himachal Pradesh Ceiling on Land Holdings (Amendment) Bill, 2021 with a view to preventing the sale of land under tea gardens for any other purpose by owners having more than 30 acres.
The Bill was earlier tabled in the Assembly on August 6, 2021, but was referred to the Select Committee of the Vidhan Sabha on the request of the MLAs. Revenue Minister Mahender Singh informed the House that it was after due deliberations that it had been decided not to allow the sale of land by big tea estate owners having more than 30 acres.
The amendment to the Himachal Pradesh Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1972 would plug all loopholes that allowed the sale of land under tea for other purposes by those who were allowed to retain excess land over and above the limit of 150 bighas. Successive governments had been under tremendous pressure from the powerful tea estate owners’ lobby to allow them to sell prime land under tea.
“The exemption to retain land over and above the ceiling has been given with a view to promoting tea cultivation but on the contrary some people have undertaken change of land use and its transfer, paving the way for the construction of hotels and shopping Malls,” the minister said. He added that the sale of land or change of land use for some other purpose was against the very spirit and aim of the legislation.
He said that at present Section 6-A and 7-A provide for the change of land use and the transfer of land under tea estate with the prior permission of the government, which defeats the very purpose of the Act to promote tea cultivation in the state. “As per the recommendations of a high-powered committee constituted to examine the issue, we have decided to amend Section 6-A and 7-A so as to discourage change of land use and transfer of land through sale,” he said.
The minister said that in case of violation of the provisions of the Act with regard to the vesting of land with the government, free from all encumbrances, shall come into force. “The main objective of the Bill is to prevent the sale of land under tea by big estate owners, who had been allowed to retain excess land, over and above the land ceiling so as to promote tea cultivation,” he added.
To a question asked by Ashish Butail about small tea garden owners getting impacted, the minister said that the amendment takes care of their interests.
The Assembly also passed the Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022 and the Himachal Pradesh Land Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
- The amendment to the Himachal Pradesh Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1972 will plug all loopholes that allow the sale of land under tea for other purposes by those who were allowed to retain excess land above the limit of 150 bighas.
- Successive governments had been under tremendous pressure from powerful tea estate owners to allow the sale of prime land under tea.