To check frequent sale and purchase of commercial land in Himachal Pradesh, the government should impose a moratorium for 10 years, says a commission appointed by the state government.

Justice DP Sood, a former judge of Himachal Pradesh high court who headed the commission said

“Every third day we read in the newspapers that the land mafia is active….During the perusal of cases from 2003 to 2011, the commission has observed that there are certain persons who have purchased land in bulk and sold to industrialists within a period of six months to three years,”

The state government had constituted the one-man commission to probe ‘benami’ (illegal) land transactions in the state from 2003 to 2011 and look into violations of statutory provisions and administrative procedures. In his report submitted to the government this month, Justice Sood shortlisted 22 people who were involved in frequent land purchases and its sale.

“They purchased land in bulk, either in their own name or obtained GPAs (general power of attorneys) in Baddi, Barotiwala, Nalagarh, Kala Amb etc., in advance and sold it to the different industrialists,” says the report.

Baddi, Barotiwala and Nalagarh in Solan district and Kala Amb in Sirmaur district are the prominent industrial belts in the state.