Uttarakhand to adopt Himachal Pradesh model in land laws, restrict land purchases by non-natives in rural hill areas.
DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand government is likely to implement stringent land laws, making it challenging for non-natives to buy land and own houses in the rural areas of the state’s hills, according to multiple reports. The proposed law, influenced by the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reforms Act of 1972, aims to safeguard the interests of the state by limiting land acquisition in rural hill areas.
The special committee, formed by chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, submitted a report over a year ago, suggesting strict restrictions on land purchases in non-municipal hill regions.
A committee member said that the new law closely follows the Himachal Pradesh model, with a focus on preventing non-Uttarakhand natives from acquiring land in rural hill areas, reported The Statesman. The report also recommends capping land purchases in urban areas, addressing concerns about outside investors exploiting the state’s resources.
The background to this development lies in the historical oscillation of land policies in Uttarakhand. In 2003, then chief minister ND Tiwari allowed outsiders to purchase land in hill areas, albeit with a cap of 500 sqm. Subsequent governments, including the BJP-led administration under BC Khanduri, reduced this limit to 250 sqm to prevent large-scale land transactions. However, in 2017, then chief minister Trivendra Rawat lifted these restrictions to attract investments in hilly regions.
Following protests in various districts, the state government formed a five-member committee to study a draft report submitted by a panel headed by ex-chief secretary Subhash Kumar in 2022. The recommendations may lead to a reinstatement of the 12.5-acre limit for land transactions in the hills, reported Times of India.
Local residents, however, are advocating for stricter measures, including reducing the limit for municipal areas to 250 sqm and imposing a complete ban on rural land sales, according to the report.