The State Cabinet of Maharashtra made a major announcement on land conversion in the state; they have simplified the complicated and time-consuming process of converting agricultural land into non-agricultural land. After the execution of the new system the land owners will not need the District Collector’s permission if the land falls within the Corporation and Municipal Council Zone. The process is simplified with an aim to ensure easy acquisition of land for housing projects and other non-agricultural purposes.

Earlier it was mandatory for the land owners to take permission of the Collector for the conversion if the plots are to be developed for residential, commercial or industrial purpose, which lead to rise in delays and corruption. This move will reduce such complaints.

As per the new system, the free hold lands should be located within the limits of the Municipal Corporation or Municipal Council. Land owners will need to take approval of the Civic Body’s Planning Department. Once the Municipal Council grants permission, the land owner needs to inform State Revenue Department in 30 days, after which officials will recover a one-time land conversion tax and a non-agriculture cess.

This process will apply to those who are direct owners of the land. For those who have leased land from the government, the collector’s permission is still required, though the conversion procedure has been made simpler for them as well. The leaseholder will have to offer a certain share of the profitable deal on the land to the government.

According to sources, masses of application for land conversion to non-agricultural use are pending, particularly in Mumbai Region and around, stalling development. In rural areas, where there are no Municipal Corporations or Councils, Revenue Officials will now be asked to create a Databank of conversion applications, so that decisions can be made quickly.