Home / News / India /  Land for Lucknow-Agra expressway purchased at higher rates: CAG

The Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) paid more than the actual price for the purchase of land for the construction of the Lucknow-Agra expressway, according to Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report.

As per the CAG report, UPEIDA made excess payment of 3.65 crore in 2014 due to the execution of sale deeds at higher than approved rates for the purchase of land in Kannauj district.

The CAG has advised the Uttar Pradesh government to investigate and fix responsibility.

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 based on the agreement between the land owners and acquiring bodies, the CAG noted.

The compensation for the purchase of land for road or expressways projects will be decided by the District Level Rate Fixation Committee (Committee) headed by the District Magistrates and the rates will be fixed through mutual consent based on prevalent market rate and other related information.

"Further, the Committee will send these rates to the acquiring body with its recommendation for approval," the auditor noted.

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 the prevalent circle rates of villages 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.

"During test check of records, the audit noticed (August 2019) that UPEIDA purchased land in seven villages in Kannauj district and 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, because 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.

The report noted that UPEIDA paid an excess land value amounting to 3.65 crore to the landowners.

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 agricultural land. But, in none of these 48 cases, pucca (asphalted) road 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 the amount of the circle rate for agricultural land and the land situated on the road, according to the report.

(With PTI inputs)

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