The Tamil Nadu government has recently amended some provisions in the Revenue Standing Order 26 (A) to streamline the procedures for the exchange of government land (not involving water courses) with educational institutions and industries.
This is aimed at ensuring a “win-win situation” for both the government and the parties involved in such transactions. The decision to simplify the procedures followed the recommendations made by a five-member committee constituted by the government.
According to the G.O. issued by the Revenue Department earlier this month, educational institutions and industries could seek government poromboke land for expansion of their projects and institutions in exchange for patta land. The exchange of land is permissible for consolidation of the holdings of the applicant or for access to the patta land. The extent of land to be exchanged will be limited to 30% of the landholdings (block of land in relation to which the proposal for exchange has been made) in possession of the applicant with a clear title.
The five-member committee — comprising Finance Secretary N. Muruganandam; Revenue Secretary Kumar Jayant; Higher Education Secretary D. Karthikeyan; Special Secretary in the Finance Department Reeta Harish Thakkar; and Commissioner of Land Administration S. Nagarajan — recognised that land exchange is the preferred mode of disposal of land because of multiple factors.
“The patta land offered must be with a clear title and possession in favour of the applicant without any encumbrance, encroachment, litigation or dispute. The land given by the applicant as open space reservation or under any other requirements to the local body or any other public authority cannot be considered as patta land for exchange,” it said.
Where porombokes, partially or fully locked in a block of patta land of the applicant, are sought to be exchanged, the patta land must be given within the “same block of land”. The patta land will be valued as per the guideline value. For government land, the guideline value will be fixed as per the norms applicable to the fixation of guideline value of poromboke land. For cases wherein the guideline values are the same, the extent of land to be exchanged will also be the same. If the guideline value of government land is lower than the patta, irrespective of the difference in valuation, the patta land for exchange has to be equal to the extent of government land offered.
If the guideline value of government land is higher than patta land, there can be two methods (either of which can be used based on individual circumstances): patta land is offered which is equal in extent to government land and the price difference is given as money or more extent of patta land is taken for exchange so that the values of patta and poromboke land are equalised.
The committee observed that when the private sector goes for purchase and consolidation of land of considerable extent for projects, there are bound to be small pieces of government land within the same unit, which could be unobjectionable as well as objectionable poramboke such as small waterbodies, pathways, ‘kalam’ and ‘meikkal’.
“Unless a proper consolidation of the land is done incorporating these smaller parcels, implementation of the project becomes impossible. Exchange of such land helps in project implementation and at the same time consolidates the different fragments of public land into one or two parcels. Exchange will take care of water flow arrangements also by properly providing for waterways, wherever required,” the committee said.
Since the exchanged land can be obtained adjacent to the existing government land, consolidation of the government land could be done and protecting the same becomes easier in future. “Such consolidated government land can be put to better use. The criterion has to be based on better access to the exchanged land which becomes a government poromboke,” it reasoned.