Telangana government needs to make a fuss about Bona Vacantia lands

Going on with the demolition of illegal constructions undertaken at Ayyappa Society, I happened to remember about many issues related to Bona Vacantia lands. I wonder why not the Telangana government focus on tracing the Red Book and owning the Bona Vacantia lands. This has been the question that repeatedly bothering my mind.


After the merger of Hyderabad state with India in 1948, all those lands which were till then in the hands of the Nizam rulers have been encroached. These encroached lands are worth many crores of rupees. Apart from the lands owned by the Nizam, many acres of fertile lands and farms were owned by the employees and other private allies of Nizam.


Most of the allies of Nizam, instead of facing Operation Polo rushed to various foreign nations including Pakistan, London; and settled down abroad. There was a need of identifying the undisclosed lands belonging to these people for declaring them as Bona Vacantia and for the transfer of these lands into the government account. In Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts there were many such lands. The colonized govt does not have the answer to what has happened to such lands.


In reality, after capturing the state from Nizam government, the Military Government prepared a file comprising of all the details of many such lands. It was then popularly known as Red Book. The Red Book was secured in Hyderabad collectorate. The whereabouts of the Red Book are not known now, as it has been missing for quite some time. From the other side, the just entered Seemandhra leaders and people suddenly possessed various properties in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts in the form of lands.


The astonishing fact here is that whereas the people who are born and brought up in Nizam Sansthan do not possess hundreds of acres of lands, the other encroachers do. It is evident that in Nizam leadership, there were many Jageerdars and Jamindars. They were very rich with imprecise property.


But, the encroachers now possess more property than the legal heirs of those Jamindars and Jaageerdars. Telangana people back the opinion that the desolate buildings, in which the poor people live, have been dragged by the encroachers into the courts in the pretext of owning them through mediators at very cheaper rates.


Encroachment of two lakh acres Surf-e-Kaz…


In Nizam Sansthan, there were 16 districts of Hyderabad state. Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy lands were Surf-e-Kaz lands, in these 16 districts. Surf-e-Kaz land means the land reserved by Nizam for his personal needs. Apart from so much of land given to the poor, charity institutions, hospitals, officials and allies of Nizam, Nizam had more than 2 lakhs of Surf-e-Kaz land. Nizam utilised the income on these lands for his personal spending.


After the merger of the state with India, many officials, ministers and employees of Nizam migrated to various countries. They left so much land belonging to them, unattended. Mainly the people who migrated to other nations lived in Banjara Hills, Nampally, Saidabad, Jubilee Hills, Charminar, Khairatabad and Ameerpet. It is a historical truth that Bona Vacantia lands accounting for thousands of acres were there in Hyderabad district when the state merged with India.


What does the law say?


Under section 9 of Bona Vacantia (the lands without ownership or undisclosed lands) act-1974, the Tahsildar can own such lands, which are undisclosed. The joint collector issues a notification under Section 11 (1) to this extent. Within three months of such a notice, the joint collector should be informed of the divergence, if any.


Such lands owned by the government are not to be allotted to anyone, before thirteen years from the date of taking over into govt account. Despite the fact that the govt is has every right on such lands, it does not possess any right to transfer such property. Like Surf-E-Kaz lands, there were many acres of land in the name of Non Indian security Forces. Such lands can also be owned by the government or else can be deposited in Land bank, according to this act.


Most of the lands located in costly areas…


Most of the Nizam employees lived in Nampally, Ameerpet, Asif Nagar, Charminar, Saidabad, Khairatabad, Bandla Guda Mandals. The top officials of Nizam government used to have big mansions and many acres of land on their name. When these employees and allies of Nizam migrated to various countries after the merger of the Hyderabad state with India, the then rulers didn’t own these lands officially.


Rather, they took the most of the situation and have created forged documents to own them. The Telangana people claim that few people owned such lands in the name of regularisation, while few people owned them adding the survey numbers of adjacent lands to such lands.


Nizam’s generosity taken the heavens…


Nizam earmarked many acres of land for the sake of the security of the foreigners in Hyderabad, in the name of Non Indian Security Force lands. But his generosity had taken the heavens and never found a place in govt calculations. Most of the lands were earmarked under this code head in Secunderabad, Banjara Hills, Maredpalli and Cantonment. History is the evidence that long before such lands have been encroached and owned by many dominating people or the leaders of the time.


Ownership attempts fail…?


In the year 2003, a notice has been issued by govt to own 2.20 acres of land in Shaikpet mandal under Bona Vacantia act. After three months, the land was added to the govt account. The present value of this land is approximately 80crores. But, for the sake of auction of this land, a waiting period of more five years is required. But, even before the elapsing of the waiting period, an attempt has already been made to sell this land with the support of a district level official. However, the attempt was futile. In a similar vein, 2000 yards land in a prime location of Hyderabad has also been attempted for sale, but failed.


Leaders turn eagles…


With the support from the local leaders of twin cities, many such lands have been owned at cheaper rates by the dominating people. In Malleppali village, approximately 1200 yards plot has been encroached by an ex-minister’s ally; already he had built a four storey building in that encroached land, reportedly.


He didn’t even bother to take an NOC for that construction. When noticed, the revenue officials rushed to take an action against the culprit. But, they had no other option than closing their eyes with the intervention of the said ex-minister. There are similar stories behind every encroachment in Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills. Many lands, which govt thinks to be in its account have been already encroached by big shots, by this time. They have created the ownership documents to own them forever.


Need of the hour


A survey is required to be conducted on Bona Vacantia as on 1974; and should be compared with the government records. Those lands, which are supposed to be in govt’s account and presently owned in an illegal way by the encroachers, should be retrieved from them, immediately.


Similarly, the lands in the name of Non Indian Security Forces are to be identified and taken back by the govt. The need of the hour is to protect such lands from the hands of encroachers.


Published by sumankasturi

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