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Goa Govt to ban land sale to foreigners

Panaji, Sat, 15 Mar 2008 NI Wire

Viewing the increasing complaint against the foreigners, the government of Goa has decided to take a move to amend 100- year old India Registrar Act, 1908 to prohibit the foreigners to make any land deal in Goa.

Government has been receiving several complaints since last 4-5 years from the farmers of the state against the foreigners, who purchase the farm land from farmers for the purpose of commercial as well personal use in which drug trafficking and land mafia are also included that lead the crime in the state.

The nexus of foreign land mafia with Indian land dealers are also surging the land prices very rapidly. Since 2004, the prices of the land have been hiked up to 50%, as the registrar sources revealed this fact.

The Law Minister of the state Dayanand Narvekar, in Margao at public meeting announced to amend the worthless act that prevents the registrar officer to cancel the land deal.

As per the Section 22 of India Registrar Act, 1908, ‘no registrar officer has right to cancel the deal, but to register the deal if, the documents of RBI clearance has been presented.’

Many times the foreign dealers had submitted the fake ‘clearance documents’ of RBI and registrar officer had no option to verify it except to send the documents to RBI to rechecking, as law minister complained.

“This is the seriously violating case of FEMA,” stated minister.

According to FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act, 2000) any foreigner who has spent more than 182 days in India can purchase the commercial plot for running the hotel or setting up any industry. The collaboration with any Indian makes the rule easier for them.

Thousands of foreigners might have bought the land in the state till date in which more than 400 cases out of the total 482 has been under scanner for violating FEMA norms since 1999. The first complaint of illegal deal purchasing registered in 2005.

The government then organised a scrutiny committee to check all deal that have held since last 10 years and found more than 400 doubtful cases.

“The government has also sent the submitted documents of the purchasers to RBI for verifying it, but till date no response has come from there” said Narvekar.

Analyzing this fact, government has decided to put a proposal for amending the 100-year old act, before the assembly members in the next session that is going to schedule on March 24, 2008.

After amending this act, authority will be more powerful and get the right to reject the ‘suspicious case’ even getting the RBI clearance. The sub-registrar will also get the same power to reject, as informed minister.

However, government has also indicated that this would be strictly imposed on purchasing the land, but it would not stop genuine foreign investors if someone comes for the purpose of pure investment through Foreign Direct Investment.

“After checking the RBI clearance and verifying all documents, permission can be granted,” cited Narvekar.

It is known that any foreigner can either directly or with making collaboration of any Indian can purchase the lands extremely easily by submitting the RBI clearance that indicate the ‘clearance of FEMA Act’.

They purchase the land for making restaurant, hotel, shack or be rented out and most often also used for drug trafficking. This amendment would restrain the drug trafficking and violation of FEMA.

The four states Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal have already implemented this rule by making amendment in India Registrar Act, 1908.

Read More: Margao

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