Secunderabad: RLDA’s Move to Lease Out Prime Land Parcels Stirs up Hornets' Nest of Concerns

 - Sakshi Post

Hyderabad: The Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA)’s move to lease out the prime land parcels in Secunderabad to private players has stirred up a hornets' nest. The South Central railway employees have expressed concerns over the leasing out of huge chunks of prime railway lands to the real estate firms allegedly at much cheaper rates. 

The Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), which is the coordinator between the railways and private firms, is leasing out the railway land to the real estate firms and reportedly not following the norms. According to the railway employees' trade unions, the employees' quarters buildings are being demolished without providing alternate residential facilities to them. 

It is alleged that the land parcels of railway land are being labelled as non-performing assets (NPAs) and are being leased out to the big real estate players at far below its market value in the name of generating revenue. 

During the Nizam's reign, hundreds of acres of land parcels were allotted to the railway department in Hyderabad and Secunderabad. There are several railway offices, residences of employees and officials in Secunderabad. 

Recently, the RLDA leased out the Chilkalguda and Rifle Range Railway Quarters and a prime land parcel near Mettuguda Railway Kalyana Mandapam to a private company to generate revenue and for re-development work. 

Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) is a statutory Authority, under the Ministry of Railways, set-up by an Amendment to the Railways Act, 1989, for development of vacant Railway Land for commercial use for the purpose of generating revenue by non-tariff measures. 

The South Central Railway has about 21 acres of land  in these two locations. The 18-acre land worth Rs 170 crore in Chilkalguda was leased out for 99 years and the other 3 acres of land in Mettuguda were leased out for 99 years for Rs 30 crore. The trade unions have objected to the leasing out of land for such a longer duration. They said the lease period has unilaterally been increased from 49 years to 99 years. 

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The RLDA’s move to lease out the prime land parcels in Secunderabad has come in for strong criticism. The protesting staff claims that other government agencies like HMDA and GHMC are generating thousands of crores of rupees for a comparably small land parcels while the railway authority could only generate Rs 200 crore by leasing out the 21 acres of prime land for 99 years. 

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