Indian government owns land nine times the size of Delhi
How much land do you think the Indian government owns? At least 13,505 square km, which is about nine times the size of Delhi, according to recent data collected by the Centre. Among Union ministries, Railways has emerged as the biggest landholder with 31,063 plots across 2,929 sq km. Experts suggest monetizing unused lands and using them for housing and other infrastructural projects.
An online centralized database to keep record of government land
The Centre has so far received information on landholdings from 41 of the 51 union ministries and 22 of over 300 public sector enterprises. Aiming to make an inventory of its land, the Centre has created an online centralized database called Government Land Information System. Monitored by the Prime Minister's Office, it records important details like total land area, geo-positioning maps and ownership rights.
Ministries reluctant to declare surplus land
Despite PMO's instructions, none of the ministries other than the fertilizers department have disclosed information on their surplus land holdings. Though it owns a substantial share of government land, the defense ministry has provided details of only 383.62 sq km citing security concerns. The ministry's total land share was pegged at around 7,000 sq km by a Comptroller and Auditor General report in 2010-11.
Government will next dispose off lands of sick CPSEs
Meanwhile, work has already begun on the next phase of the project, in which the government will dispose off the lands of loss-making Central Public Sector Enterprises. A sub-committee is already reviewing the guidelines for land disposal.