It is the policy of the government to remove all objectionable encroachments (earmarked for specific purposes) and prevent new encroachments.
Chennai: A total of 2.05 lakh hectare or seven per cent of the government land, was under encroachment as of June 2017.
The efforts to evict encroachments did not yield significant results as total extent of land retrieved from encroachers during the five year period from 2011 to 2016 was only 5,302 hectare (9.8 percent) against 54,401 hectare under encroachment as of July 2011 in the eight sampled districts.
The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, published in March 2017 revealed the above startling statistics in its significant findings of the audit.
The report said government and local bodies exercise the powers vested with them through Tamil Nadu Land Encroachment Act, 1905, and other statutes to prevent and evict encroachments on government lands and lands vested with local bodies.
It is the policy of the government to remove all objectionable encroachments (earmarked for specific purposes) and prevent new encroachments. The present performance audit on “Encroachments on Government Lands” revealed that the government and local bodies were not able to check this menace successfully, the report added.
In its finding, the report apart from the above statistics, said shortcomings in the enabling statutes and non-adherence to the established systems in management of government lands hampered the efforts to prevent and evict the encroachments.
The encroachment data was found to be unreliable due to non-booking of fresh 'B Memo', which serves as the first information from village administrative officer to the tahsildar for checking encroachments, the report added.
The findings further stated that rampant encroachment of road margins in Chennai, with an average of 3.4 incidences of encroachments per kilometer of road length, went largely unchecked due to inaction on the part of Greater Chennai Corporation. Encroachments on water bodies accounted for 49 percent of the total objectionable encroachments. Jurisdictional issues and lack of coordination between revenue and water resources departments contributed to the rise in encroachments on water bodies.
Instead of alienating or acquiring suitable land, several government agencies took recourse to encroaching water bodies and grazing lands for constructing public buildings. Systems put in place to monitor clearance of encroachments did not function as the high level committee at the state level did not meet after February 2010, the report added.