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Doomed, say scientists, as MLA-MP bulldozer closes in
Doomed, say scientists, as MLA-MP bulldozer closes in
Bungalows for Jharkhand MLAs, MPs will destroy gene bank built over 20 years, thousands of plants of different fruit varieties.
RANCHI, OCTOBER 4: Stunned scientists have begun counting their impending losses: 5253 plants of different varieties of mango and litchi, 6,500 trees more than 30 years old, eight greenhouse nurseries, each with 4000-5000 plants of guava and jackfruit and a gene bank developed over 20 years to have a germplasm base of 239 varieties of mango and litchi.
The Ranchi-based Horticulture and Agro Forestry Research Programme (HARP) — under the aegis of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) — is set to lose all these if the Jharkhand government goes ahead with its plan to acquire land from the institute to build bungalows for over 115 MPs and MLAs.
This also flies in the face of a letter from Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar earlier this year asking Chief Minister Madhu Koda to shelve the plan and instead issue mutation certificate of this land whose title was transferred to the ICAR by the Ranchi Deputy Commissioner in 1976. In 1979, HARP was set up with 100 percent funding by the Union government.
As reported in The Indian Express today, the plan, cleared by the Koda government, envisages taking over more than 288 acres of HARP’s land and slicing away 88 acres (from ICAR’s Farm 2) for the Vidhayal Evam Sansad Grih Nirman Swawlambi Sahkari Samiti Ltd, a housing society registered by the legislators.
‘This will destroy our field laboratory for ever,” says HARP scientist R S Pan. His colleague, senior scientist Vikas Das says: “Our germplasm bank assiduously nourished and grown over the past two decades is the foundation for carrying out our research on the gene order of these varieties. Once we lose Farm 2, we are doomed.”
Not just that. “The gene bank of these valuable fruit-bearing tress will be destroyed for ever. It will seriously affect horticulture prospects of the farmers in this belt,” says HARP’s Principal Scientist Shivendra Kumar.
Even Pawar had underlined the benefits: “This research centre (HARP) has been working on different projects for the past 27 years...It has developed 29 new varieties of fruits and vegetable crops and Jharkhand farmers are benefiting from its techniques developed here. So my request is to settle this land where this institution is situated.”
But Koda clearly ignored this. While he declined to comment, Speaker of the Jharkhand Assembly Alamgir Alam — one of the beneficiaries if the plan goes through — says that the government is committed to taking the land. “The state Land Revenue Department has to transfer the title of this land to the housing society. We have asked officials to do the needful,” said Alam.
IndianExpress.com :: Doomed, say scientists, as MLA-MP bulldozer closes in
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08-10-07, 07:33 PM #2
Re: Doomed, say scientists, as MLA-MP bulldozer closes in
Koda says colony plan premature, documents reveal something else
Spadework done to take over horticulture land for MPs-MLAs’ colony
RANCHI, OCTOBER 7: Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda insists that his Government hasn’t taken any decision on acquiring land from the Horticulture & Agro-Forestry Research Programme (HARP) for a housing scheme for MPs and MLAs. “The plan is at a premature stage,” he said on Saturday at his official residence.
But official documents obtained by The Indian Express under the RTI Act reveal that the state administration has already done the spadework to settle the title of HARP’s land in favour of its scheme.
The Ranchi Additional Collector’s March 1 letter to the South Chotanagpur Divisional Commissioner’s secretary says: “In subject related with the above, it is to state that the proposal prepared and approved by the Ranchi Deputy Commissioner for transfer of land to Vidhayak Evam Sansad Grih Nirman Swalambhi Sahkari Samiti Ltd is being forwarded.”
Earlier, the Samiti’s chief executive, C P Singh, an MLA of the Opposition BJP, had dispatched a letter to the Assembly Secretary on February 5 requesting him to get land for the MLAs and MPs. On February 22, Circle Officer, Namkom block, under whose jurisdiction HARP land falls, received a file with request to transfer the title of this land on lease to the Samiti.
The additional collector also prepared a file related to the status of the HARP’s land on February 27. The file, based on a report submitted to him by the Circle Officer of Namkom, states this: “During the course of site inspection, it was found that the land is protected by barbed wire. It is under possession of HARP. The proposal to settle the land (to the Samiti) on a lease basis for 30 years is prepared.”
In all 585.63 acres was provided to HARP in 1976. Later, “the statement proposal number 1RVIII 1981-82 to transfer it was sent to the state Government as per the legal procedure. But the Bihar Government’s order approving this proposal was not received,” states the AC’s letter.
Subsequently, state Secretary (Revenue) Vishnu Kumar in his September 25 letter to the Ranchi DC stated that 285.63 acres of land “where HARP had not undertaken any work and was in its possession” be acquired.
“Prepare a map of this land and send it. Also, make available plot-wise details and a separate map of 85 acres of this land so that it can be allotted for the MLA and MP housing scheme,” ordered Kumar.
While Ranchi DC Avinash Kumar is learnt to be in the process to honour Secretary Kumar’s order, HARP’s Principal Scientist Shivendra Kumar on Saturday countered these officers’ contention.
“We do not have any land where there was no plant or nursery,” said Kumar.
Asked why the Government order pertaining to the transfer of the land which was handed over to HARP by the erstwhile Bihar Government in 1976, was not notified till date, Kumar replied that HARP was not responsible for it. “During the past 30 years, we had written dozens of letters requesting the officers concerned of the Bihar and Jharkhand Government to do the needful, but in vain. Now, instead of rectifying their lapse, they were out to grab our land,” said Kumar.
When The Indian Express approached the CM for his reaction on Kumar’s assertion, Koda said he would look into HARP’s case. “We will send a team of officials to take stock of the land afresh,” he said.
IndianExpress.com :: Koda says colony plan premature, documents reveal something else
Last edited by karira; 08-10-07 at 07:34 PM.
16-10-07, 07:57 AM #3
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Rejecting village land, Jharkhand MLAs went for prime HARP
State govt first okayed land near site for new capital; since project didn’t take off, land rate didn’t rise, so MLAs & MPs lost all interest
The land in Malsiring, 25 km from Ranchi, which the legislators’ housing co-operative rejected before zeroing in on HARP land.
RANCHI, OCTOBER 15: Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda may claim his government has not taken any decision on building homes for legislators on land used by ICAR’s Horticulture & Agroforestry Research Programme (HARP) for field trials of important crops.
But documents accessed by The Indian Express under the Right to Information (RTI) Act reveal that the legislators’ housing co-operative society — of which Koda is a member —first rejected land offered at another site, in Malsiring village. It was then that the government initiated the process of clearing HARP land for the society.
There’s a big difference in the market price of land in Malsiring and HARP land that the state cabinet is in the process of clearing for the society: the former sells for some Rs 2 lakh per acre; the latter, along the busy Ranchi-Jamshedpur highway, could sell for as much as Rs 1 crore per acre.
The documents show that the Vidhayak Evam Saansad Grih Nirman Swalambhi Sahkari Samiti Ltd was constituted in 2002 with 117 members, including Koda. Each member deposited Rs 75,000 with this society.
On August 3, 2004, the state government transferred 38.43 acres in Malsiring to the society. The village is where a new state capital was to be built, but the project was scrapped. With that, chances of the land price going up evaporated.
The revenue department asked the society to pay Rs 74.93 lakh and take the land but the society rejected the offer.
“When nobody was ready to take the land, we told the concerned officials to get us some other land,” said C P Singh, the society’s CEO. “We were then shown HARP land and we agreed to take it.”
Now that the state government is in the process of acquiring 85 acres of HARP land, the members seem upbeat. “We have made our preference clear,” said Singh.
On September 21 Dr Shivendra Kumar, principal scientist at HARP, wrote to the Ranchi deputy commissioner, pleading that the government move to acquire the project land had created a sense of uncertainty in the staff. There has been no reply.
And Koda is not ready to address Dr Kumar’s concerns. Asked for his reaction, he said: “We are looking into the veracity of his (Dr Kumar’s) claims.”
Manoj PrasadPosted online: Tuesday, October 16, 2007
IndianExpress.com :: Rejecting village land, Jharkhand MLAs went for prime HARP