CAG exposes multi-crore land scam in Andhra Pradesh

The “benevolence” of the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh in allocation of land (irregularly) for different purposes has caused enormous monetary loss running into several thousand crores of rupees between 2006 and 2011, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has said.

Alienation/allotment of land by the AP Government during 2006-11 was characterised by grave irregularities, involving allotment in an ad-hoc, arbitrary and discretionary manner to private persons and entities at very low rates, without safeguarding the financial and socio-economic interests of the state, the CAG said in its audit report for 2010-11 which was tabled in the Assembly on Thursday.

Most of these allotments were made during the tenure of the late Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy (who was in power between 2004 and 2009).

In a large number of cases of land allotment, the State Government ignored the prescribed procedures and disregarded “canons of financial propriety”, the CAG noted.

Audit scrutiny revealed that undue benefit of Rs 1,784 crore was given to various entities and persons, due to the difference in the rates at which land was allotted and the market value as recommended by the District Collector concerned or the Empowered Committee (headed by the Chief Commissioner of Land Administration).

“During 2006-11, the State Government alienated/ allotted 88,492 acres of land to 1,027 beneficiaries. In the 11 sampled districts, 459 allotments were made, involving 50,285.90 acres of land. Of these, 409 cases were scrutinised in audit.

“Audit found that land allotments for commercial purposes were not made in a fair, consistent and transparent manner so as to serve the public interest,” the CAG observed.

The Government was yet to realise the cost of land alienation in 60 cases in 11 districts, resulting in dues amounting to Rs 2,559 crore, the auditor said.

This was the first time that the CAG has come out with a comprehensive audit report on land allotments in AP even as the doles of the YSR Government remained a subject of major scandal and controversy in the last few years.

The State Government lost revenue of Rs 874.03 crore by alienating 881.32 acres in Mamidipally Village, Ranga Reddy District to APIIC at a meagre cost. APIIC, in turn allotted 500 acres of this land at very low rates to Indu Tech Zone and Brahmani Infra Tech even before orders of alienation were issued, the CAG said in another observation.

The State Government has been a “mute spectator” to encroachment of its lands. Instead of instituting a mechanism for preventing and detecting illegal encroachments and dealing with them swiftly and effectively, in a sense, it has fuelled encroachments by regularising 14,878 of such unauthorised encroachments involving 21 lakh sq yards of land, collecting a meagre revenue of Rs 63.71 crore, the CAG maintained.

“The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has been pointing out, in his Audit Reports, year after year, several irregularities relating to allotment of land by the Government of Andhra Pradesh.

The State Government, however, is yet to take corrective measures in this regard and come up with a comprehensive policy relating to alienation/allotment of land.

The Government had also not formulated any land use policy defining its sector-wise priorities in utilisation/allotment of land for the present and future needs for socio-economic development of the state,” the CAG report observed.

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