Millennium Post

CAG raps Railways over paucity of land management cells

The Comptroller and Auditor General has expressed dismay over absence of land management cells (LMCs) in many railway zones and divisions despite the need for such a body to maintain accurate land records for prevention of encroachments.

Besides, CAG, in its report, has observed that in railway divisions where LMCs have been set up, staff members posted there were neither trained to deal with land issues nor deployed exclusively for the job, which adversely impacted maintenance of important land data. 

The national auditor noted that the process for removal of encroachments was very slow and the monitoring and joint inspections for encroachment management were not up to the prescribed level.

Railways owned 4.59 lakh hectares of land up to March 2014, out of which, 0.46 lakh hectares were vacant and 930.75 hectares under encroachment.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had emphasised the need for setting up of LMCs to maintain accurate land records, plan removal and prevention of encroachments.

CAG examined the issue of prevention and removal of encroachments on railway land with a view to assess whether the guidelines/instructions of Railway Board were adhered to and PAC's recommendations implemented. The national auditor observed that LMCs had not been set up in headquarters of three Zonal Railways (Southern, South East Central and South West) and in 37 Divisions of three zones.

"The LMCs did not properly monitor the position of vacant land. Land plans were either missing or had not been authenticated by state authorities. Twenty per cent of the land plans had not been digitised," CAG observed in its report.

It noted that the records connected with land mutation were available in eight zones and only 48 per cent of these land plans were mutated.
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