Rlys to lease out vacant land for farming

Considering the financial crisis the Indian Railways is facing, the Northern Railway has started a move to allot its vacant land, alongside the railway track, to its employees to generate revenue under the “Grow more food scheme”.

Besides generating revenue to arrest its financial slide, the railway is of the view that giving the surplus land on lease will help in checking encroachment on its land.

The scheme has already started in Ferozepur, Mordabad, Lucknow, Ambala and Delhi divisions of Northern Railway. In Ferozepur railway division, the railway has already received over 1,000 applications from its employees for the allotment of this vacant land on lease.

Though a proposal to allot the vacant land was mooted in the Railway Board’s letter number 2009/LML/16/3 dated July 16, 2010, work on it started after a high-level safety review committee under the chairmanship of Dr Anil Kakodkar, in its report on February 17 this year, recommended the utilization of surplus land to generate revenue.

The expert group for the modernization of Indian Railway under the chairmanship of Sam Pitroda in its report on February 25 this year was also of the same view.

It has been decided that the land would be allotted only to ground ‘C’ and ‘D’ railway staff and preference would be given to gatemen, gangmen and the staff belonging to the SC, ST, OBC and economically weaker sections of society, said NC Goyal, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Ferozepur.

In Ferozepur railway division, about 900 hectares of vacant land has been identified for its allotment under the “Grow more food scheme”. The licence fee for the land has to be fixed on the basis of revenue generating potential of the land, said Rakesh Kumar, a senior section engineer (Land) in Ferozepur division. The minimum licence fee is Re 1 per square meter per annum, he said.

Besides making the allotment of vacant land, the vigilance department of the railway has also started checking the encroachment on its land. Notices will be issued to the outsiders who are cultivating the railway land illegally, said NP Bagga, Assistant Engineer, Planning.

The allotment will be permitted only to permanent employees. There will be no allotment to employees who have less than five years of service left and the allotment will be annulled at least one year before the due date of retirement. The size of the plot for allotment to an employee will not be more than one hectare.

Indian railway has about 4.32 lakh hectares of land of which 10 per cent is lying vacant alongside the railway track. Besides protecting valuable land assets from encroachment, the allotment of vacant land will add to the green belt and to the food security of the nation besides augmenting the revenue for railway, said NC Goyal.


Published in: on November 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

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