Leasehold lands are known as the lands which are legally owned by the government although are being leased out to the citizens for a certain period (normally long enough) so that the citizens can get the benefit of affordable housing without actually owning the land. In India, several state governments have taken initiatives promoting residential housing in leasehold lands since independence. Additionally, almost all the state governments have some basic criteria upon which they decide any person’s eligibility for becoming a lessee of such leasehold lands.
One such prominent criteria is that the concerned person should not be holding any other leasehold residential accomodation and is having a genuine need of housing. These criteria are kept so that the real needy people can get access to this specific option of affordable housing. The number of homeless people in India is not very low, it’s around 17 lakhs who need their own housing, according to the census of 2011 and the situation is apprehended to become worse after more than a decade now.
Despite the government’s mechanisms to ensure that only needy people can get access to such leasehold lands for their much needed housing, over the time it has been reported that people who aren’t eligible are also enjoying the benefit of such schemes.
Recently several writ petitions were filed in Calcutta High Court by a certain petitioner named Atanu Das where it was mentioned that several persons are possessing multiple leasehold properties in violation to the acts and rules of the Government.
The reported persons are said to be possessing multiple properties in leasehold lands which are in and around Bidhannagar (also known as Salt Lake), New Town and other parts of Kolkata.
The petition is getting heard in front of Justice Amrita Sinha and the final verdict of the court is yet to arrive.
A government official aware of the situation said on the condition of anonymity that many people apply and take the benefit of leasehold land while suppressing the fact of their possessing other properties and such being the case it is very difficult for the government to proactively verify any such suppression.
In general, the Government has clear rules and policies regarding who is eligible to possess leasehold properties. Despite such rules being in place, several people are reportedly having multiple properties in leasehold lands and even in co-operative societies which is not permitted by the law. Since the government is lacking in terms of enforcing its rules and actively finding the loopholes, deserving people are forced to take up such matters to the hon’ble court.
While it’s not a new thing that welfare schemes of the government failed to reach the intended beneficiaries, it’s really concerning the way people who are well-to-do are taking advantage of the schemes intended for those who desperately need housing.
The Union government and state governments are tirelessly bringing in new schemes and policies to provide housing options specifically to the citizens belonging to the lower income group. But unless such misutilizations and inappropriate usage are mitigated with strong hand, new schemes and policies will always remain lacking.