NA permission for land may soon be gone

Even as the government has decided to come up with a new legislation to simplify land laws, it is reportedly contemplating to abolish the prevailing system of seeking permission to convert an agriculture land into a non-agriculture one — better known as NA permission.

The issue figured at the weekly meeting of secretaries chaired by Chief Secretary D Rajagopalan on Wednesday. At the meeting, most bureaucrats were of the view that the present NA procedure should be scrapped so as to give a further boost to the industrial, commercial, housing and other key sectors across the state.

"At present, people have to go through over seven different stages to obtain NA permission from the district authorities concerned. This procedure is time-consuming and also encourages corruption right from the talati to the mamlatdar and the collector-level. Once this is done away with, developers would be able to get the agricultural land converted into non-agricultural without any hassles," said a source in the state Revenue Department.

Sources said that most of the states do not have the NA system. They said there is a Town and Country Planning Act in Haryana under which the agricultural land can be purchased for non-agricultural use without any hassles. "Gujarat, too, should have such an Act for faster development," said a senior official.

Meanwhile, the draft Gujarat Land Administration Bill, which the government proposes to bring in the next Assembly Budget Session, was thoroughly discussed at the district collectors' meet in Gandhinagar called by the Revenue minister on Thursday. The proposed Bill seeks to replace the obsolete Bombay Land Revenue Code, which governs all land-related laws in Gujarat since it was introduced by the British in 1879.

When this age-old Code is replaced by the new legislation, it will help the government to have a better administration, management and regulation of the land in Gujarat. The move is part of the on-going land reforms supported by the government's e-governance programme, which is aimed at putting an end to the current manual entry of land records and entries.

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