Digha rail line land switch to state hits roadblock, once more

PATNA: The proposal to transfer rail line land to the state for a four-lane road hit roadblock again as the district administration has reduced its earlier evaluated price of Rs896.29 crore to Rs221 crore and submitted its report to the Patna high court on April 13. A railway official said the new price would be unacceptable to the ministry.
Patna district magistrate (DM) Kumar Ravi told TOI on Monday the earlier price was evaluated considering it as residential as well as commercial land. “While some parts of the 71.25 acre land was evaluated as residential, rest was considered as commercial,” the DM said. He said as the land is linear, neither can it be considered as residential nor commercial as in both cases, one has to show access routes for any construction on it.

“Thus the evaluation was done in a special way considering it a land for infrastructure development,” he said.

The DM also said additional collector (revenue), district sub-registrar, deputy collector land reforms (DCLR) and circle officer (CO) of Patna sadar along with a railway official were in the evaluation committee.

The price was evaluated by a district evaluation committee headed by the DM following the Patna high court’s order over the issue. The earlier evaluation of Rs 896.29 crore was done in 2014-2015.

“A railway official was kept in the committee on the high court order,” the DM said, adding the evaluation was also approved by the central evaluation committee headed by state registration department principal secretary.

But, a top official said the railways member in the committee didn’t agree with the evaluation and submitted his note of dissent to the district administration. “Railways mainly acquires land on four times the circle rate from state governments. At the time of acquisition, too, it was a strip of land. The logic of district committee while evaluating the Digha-Patna rail line land price is irrational,” he said.

“Railways was ready to transfer the land to the state government for Rs 896.29 crore in the past, but we were never ed by the state government. Now the price of the land has shot up above Rs1,000 crore according to present rates,” he said.

(ECR) chief public relations officer () Rajesh Kumar, when ed, said the matter was under consideration and the report would soon be sent to the with ECR’s view. “I won’t comment on the ECR view as the state government proposal is being studied,” he added.

According to the records of railways submitted before the high court, it runs a local passenger train on the section twice a day for which it coughs up Rs 6.07 lakh and earns Rs7,800 only per month. Only 47 tickets are sold daily on the route and more than Rs 72 lakh is spent annually.

The land transfer issue has been pending since 2009.

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