CAG report: UPEIDA purchased land for Lucknow-Agra expressway at higher rates in Kannauj

  • | Wednesday | 28th September, 2022

Noida, Sep 28 (PTI) For the construction of the Lucknow-Agra expressway, the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) made excess payment of Rs 3.65 crore due to execution of sale deeds at higher than approved rates for the purchase of land in Kannauj district, a CAG report has revealed.The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has suggested the Uttar Pradesh government to investigate and fix responsibility in the matter that took place in 2014 as highlighted in its compliance audit report for the year ended March 2020.The report, accessed by PTI, was tabled during the recently-concluded monsoon session of the state assembly.The Uttar Pradesh government"s order (September 2013) provides that according to the general policy to acquire land for all projects, the land will be directly purchased on the basis of agreement between the land owners and acquiring bodies, the CAG noted.The compensation for purchase of land for road or expressways projects will be decided by the District Level Rate Fixation Committee (Committee) headed by the District Magistrate of the districts concerned and the rates will be fixed through mutual consent based on prevalent market rate and other related information, it stated."Further, the Committee will send these rates to the acquiring body with its recommendation for approval,” the auditor noted.UPEIDA, the acquiring body for the land to be used in the construction of the Lucknow-Agra Expressway, was required to comply with procedures defined in the government order.The report noted that the UPEIDA, in its 22nd board meeting (June 17, 2014), authorised its chief executive officer (CEO) to approve the rates decided by the Committee on which the land was to be purchased.The Committee of District Kannauj finalised (July 2, 2014) the rates (four times of the prevalent circle rates of village concerned for general agricultural land and agricultural land adjacent to population) of land for 50 villages required for the construction of the Lucknow-Agra Expressway.The CEO of UPEIDA approved (July 7, 2014) the rates recommended by the Committee, it added."During test check of records, the audit noticed (August 2019) that UPEIDA purchased land in seven villages in Kannauj district and in contravention to the provisions of government order (September 2013), executed 88 sale deeds at the rates higher than that recommended by the Committee and approved by the CEO of UPEIDA, on the grounds that these lands were adjacent to road,” the CAG report noted."The district magistrate of Kannauj in a letter (January 5, 2021) addressed to the CEO, UPEIDA mentioned the fact that in the sale deeds executed, there was no mention about existence of road in "chauhaddi" hence, these sale deeds were executed on higher circle rate than approved circle rate for which UPEIDA"s approval was required but was not taken in these cases."Resultantly, UPEIDA paid an excess land value amounting to Rs 3.65 crore to the landowners,” it noted.Further, the audit scrutinised sale deeds and noticed that in 40 out of the 88 sale deeds, there was no mention of any road and also acquired land was surrounded (Chauhaddi) by agricultural land only, according to the report.In the remaining 48 sale deeds, there was a mention of road, however, these were also surrounded by the agricultural land. But, in none of these 48 cases, pucca (asphalted) road was shown in the revenue maps prepared (October 2013) for the acquisition of land for the expressway, the CAG noted.UPEIDA, in its reply (May 2021), said the amount of difference in rates was due to the difference in amount of the circle rate for agricultural land and the land situated on the road, according to the report."The government needs to investigate the matter for executing the sale deeds at the higher rates and fix the responsibility for the same. The matter was reported to the government (March 2021). The reply is awaited (November 2021),” the CAG stated. PTI KIS RHL

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