Challenges of Land Undervaluation Notices in Kerala
The Dilemma of Two Lakh Landowners
In a significant move impacting the real estate sector in Kerala, two lakh individuals have been thrust into a challenging situation following the issuance of notices for the undervaluation of land. This development, as reported by Keralakaumudi Daily, highlights a critical juncture in the state’s approach to land valuation and its implications for landowners.
The Core Issue
The crux of the matter lies in the alleged statement of lower land prices in sale deeds, spanning transactions between 2018 and 2023. The Kerala government, grappling with financial challenges, has identified this as a potential revenue source, expecting to collect around Rs 200 crores as fair value arrears. However, this move has significant repercussions for the landowners involved.
Revenue Recovery Procedures: A Tight Deadline
Those who have received notices are now facing the prospect of revenue recovery procedures if they fail to comply with the fair price fixed by officials before March 31. This action, encompassing 313 sub-registrar offices across the state, puts immense pressure on landowners to reassess and potentially pay additional amounts based on the government’s valuation.
Exemptions and Inconsistencies
Interestingly, in panchayats, transactions involving land up to 5 cents are exempted from this directive. However, the method of determining the fair value, which is done by the revenue department without physical inspection of the land and often not adhering to norms, raises questions about the fairness and accuracy of the valuations.
Real Estate Sector Implications
The real estate sector in Kerala is poised for more complexities due to this new action. A significant issue is the discrepancy between government-fixed prices and market values, leading to acres of land remaining untransferred. The fair value of land has seen a staggering increase of 160 percent over thirteen years, further complicating matters for landowners.
Adding to the complexity is the outdated classification system. Despite the substantial increase in fair value, land classification is still based on the 2010 status. This outdated classification fails to reflect current realities, such as improved road access, which significantly impacts land value.
The landowners’ primary grievance revolves around the lack of a scientific approach in assessing undervaluation. The sub-registrar’s role in fixing prices, often leading to a 30 percent increase, is a source of contention. Moreover, the threat of recovering immovable property if the land seller is unwilling to pay the compounding fee adds to the landowners’ difficulties.
The situation in Kerala serves as a stark reminder of the complexities inherent in land valuation and the impact of governmental policies on individual landowners. While the state’s need to address its financial crisis is understandable, the approach raises questions about fairness, accuracy, and the burden placed on landowners. As the deadline looms, those affected must navigate these challenges, balancing the government’s demands with their rights and financial capabilities.