GUWAHATI, Feb 16 - The Government of Assam in an affidavit to the National Green Tribunal has admitted that the land use chapter of the ‘Guwahati Master Plan 2025’ prepared by the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) in July, 2009, after extensive studies and public consultations, was based on ‘incorrect and outdated land records’.
The State government’s submission before the NGT, Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata is related to the allotment of 572 bighas of land at Jalah near Changsari for the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The land, as per the master plan, falls under the eco-sensitive zone and as per the guidelines and norms no construction activities can be taken up on such sites.
The affidavit that questions the relevance of a mammoth exercise taken up in the name of master plan preparation for Guwahati with a futuristic vision, was submitted by State Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia on February 7, 2017.
The affidavit mentions that from available official records it was evident that the land in question at Jalah was used as a village grazing reserve from 1961. However, the necessary correction and update of the land records were not done in time.
It further mentions that the master plan classification and map prepared by the GMDA were done on the basis of incorrect and outdated records of the revenue department, which resulted in incorrect zoning and land use in the master plan.
“Since it is now within the knowledge of the government that there are infirmities in the land records, directions have been issued to correct the same by the GMDA and also the revenue department,” the affidavit mentioned.
On the other hand, responding to an RTI recently, the GMDA admitted that the proposed site of AIIMS, bearing dag no 390, falls under green belt.
Construction of the AIIMS on the site has been put on hold by the NGT, as the matter is under examination by the green panel from the environmental protection and preservation point of view. In its order on February 7, 2017, the NGT extended its interim order of putting the construction on hold until further orders. The next date of hearing has been fixed on March 10, 2017 as the GMDA and the Central government did not submit their affidavits in this regard.
The site selection process at Jalah under mouza Sila Senduri Ghopa in North Guwahati has been in controversy since its very inception. In the case number 144/2016/EZ petitioners Sarbeswar Baruah and others from Raha in Nagaon district filed an application to NGT challenging the site selection at Jalah.
The petitioners challenged the ground selection at Jalah on the ground that Raha near Chaparmukh was recommended by the Central expert team headed by KC Samaria, which was ignored by the State government. The petitioners also argued that the land at Jalah is an eco-sensitive zone having a combination of grazing land, natural water body, green hills etc., where such construction activities cannot be taken up.