In the first day of monsoon session that is last of this Govt, has introduced a bill to amend the land ceiling law to allow religious organisations to buy land in excess of the upper limit.
Introducing the bill in the assembly, Revenue Minister Gulab Singh said that the Radha Soami Satsang Beas in Punjab has repeatedly requested to exempt it from holding land in excess of the permissible limit specified under Section 4 of the Himachal Pradesh Ceiling on Land Holdings Act of 1972.
The ceiling fixed under the act for orchards, private forests, grasslands and tea gardens is currently 30 acres, while the ceiling for irrigated lands producing two crops and one crop is 10 acres and 15 acres, respectively. The bill proposes to grant exemption to religious and spiritual bodies from the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
If this bill goes through, it would largely benefit various religious sects, and will allow them to buy land in access. As there is no need to allow such reckless bill, but it seems that ruling BJP is trying to appease religious organisations, as they have huge following in state, ahead of the assembly polls. Even a one-member commission, appointed by the state government to probe illegal land transactions and look into violations of statutory provisions in the state, has accused the religious institutions of grabbing prime land in towns like Shimla and Dharamsala at throwaway prices and after such finding if this bill passed in the house then it will definitely eat into the rights of the innocent people of the state.