bill: Himachal Pradesh passes bill to stop tea garden land sale | Shimla News



SHIMLA : The BJP government in Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday slammed the door on sale of tea gardens allowed under certain clauses of the Land Ceiling Act after passage of the Himachal Pradesh Ceiling on Land Holdings (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in the state assembly on the last day of the budget session. Once the bill is approved by the governor, it will be sent to the President for his assent.
The Himachal Pradesh Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1972 (Act No 19 of 1973), was enacted to put a ceiling on the big landholdings. However, with an objective to promote tea industry in the state, the lands under tea estate were exempted from the operation of the Act under clause (g) of Section 5 of this Act. The bill seeks to remove the clauses that allowed sale of land under tea gardens.

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The bill was tabled in the assembly last year, but it was referred to the select committee following protests by the opposition parties.
After clearance by the committee, revenue minister Mahender Singh Thakur introduced the bill in the budget session, however, Congress MLA Ashish Butail raised objections, pointing out that small tea gardens had been excluded from this amendment.
He also said that the permissible limit given by the state government in Section 4 for selling tea gardens should also be given to big gardens. Butail also said that change of ownership has not come up in the bill and sought a provision for transfer to blood relation. He said that a way out should be found to address the problem of mutation of the land which has been sold earlier. He also said that the matter was pending in the Supreme Court, so a decision should not be taken in this matter now.
Replying to this, the revenue minister said that those who have less than 150 bighas of tea gardens, will not face any new restrictions. He said that there are 8,474 such gardens in Kangra and 838 small gardens in Mandi. While the number of large tea gardens is small, there is a need to prevent the sale of their lands under this Act, he added.
He said that the government is not taking away the rights of those who had big tea gardens before January 1971, but the government wants them to develop the tea gardens. He pointed out that till now more than 2000 bighas of tea garden land has been sold or transferred and large hotels and commercial malls have been built there.
Later the House passed the bill by voice vote. The aims and objective of the bill said that it has been observed that the lands under tea estates in the hill state have been invariably used for purposes other than tea plantation or have been transferred by way of sale etc, by resorting to these provisions which is against the spirit and intention of the legislation and there is need to discourage change of land use and transfer of lands under the tea estate by way of sale etc.
In case of such violations the provisions of the Act with regard to vesting of land with the Government, free from all encumbrances, shall come into operation.


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