Visakhapatnam: Land to Film Nagar club caught in controversy

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Criticism on rent being fixed at Rs 1.5 lakh per year.

Visakhapatnam: The allotment of valuable land at Kapula Uppada, part of the tourist destination Bheemili mandal, to Hyderabad-based Film Nagar Cultural Centre has kicked up a controversy.

The state revenue department had issued GO MS No. 282 recently leasing 15 acres of government land in Surveys No. 395 and 413 for 33 years subject to certain conditions. The rent was fixed at Rs 1.5 lakh per year which, it is being alleged, is a throwaway price.

According to an earlier order issued by the revenue department on the government land allotment policy, GO Ms. No 571, September 14, 2012, the rental should be 10 per cent of the market value as fixed by the competent authority.

The joint collector had fixed the market value of one acre of land in Kapula Uppada at Rs 2.22 crore. Based on this, the rental should have been Rs 22 lakh per acre per annum, as against the Rs 1.5 lakh being charged for the entire 15-acre parcel of land.
“On a per acre basis, the lease rental works out to a ridiculously low rate of Rs 10,000,”said former Union secretary E.A.S. Sarma in a letter to special chief secretary Ajeya Kallam.

Mr Sarma said that on the same day, — Septem-ber 14, 2012 — land was allotted to a DRDO project via (GO Ms (Revenue) No. 287). “According to that GO, DRDO is required to pay Rs 8 lakh per acre for the land allotted to it, that too, in Madugulu mandal in the district, which is in a remote region of the district where lands are comparatively cheaper. In other words, for the state’s political executive, the Film Nagar Cultural Centre is more important than the DRDO project!!! Its priorities are extraordinarily bizarre!,” he wrote.

He alleged that the “highly non-transparent transaction” was apparently meant to grant an undue benefit to the Film Nagar Cultural Centre. “It violates the norm set by the apex court in the 2G Spectrum case on transactions involving natural resources such as land. I would not rule out mala fides in this transaction,” he added.

He demanded the withdrawal of GO 282 failing which he would seek judicial intervention. “What surprises me is that the monthly subscription that a member of the Film Nagar Cultural Club is required to pay for the five-star comfort offered by the club is Rs 10,000 as against an annual rental of Rs 10,000 per acre payable by the centre to the government! Has any civil servant of your department applied his or her mind to this, while recommending the proposal to the state cabinet,” Mr Sarma wrote.

The FNCC had requested the government to allot land on lease basis at Rs 1.25 lakh per annum stating that earlier, through G.O.Ms.No.36, dt.29-1-96, 4 acres was allotted free and the GHMC had charged `5,000 per annum for the entire land in Hyderabad.

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