Saturday, July 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

DCs make inventory of surplus govt land
From Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, July 14 — The Deputy Commissioners all over the state are busy in preparing inventory of surplus, under-utilised and un-utilised government land which could be transferred to the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) for open auction under the optimum utilisation of vacant government land (OUVGL) scheme.

The inventory, prepared by Deputy Commissioner Amritsar, includes certain abandoned PWD rest houses and canal rest houses which could be transferred under the scheme. Many government properties stand encroached upon by influential persons, and some are in the possession of the police. The government feels that with the open auction of such properties the state government could cope with the financial crunch.

At a meeting of the high-powered committee, held recently and preside over by the Chief Secretary took a serious view of the non-implementation of the minutes of previous meeting decisions in toto. The minutes of the committee which met on May 31 read: At the outset the Chief Secretary, Mr R.S. Mann, reiterated his concern over the slow progress of the implementation of the OUVGL scheme. He emphasised that since the government attaches utmost importance to the scheme, therefore, to ensure its success, all departments and government agencies concerned should take wholehearted interest to implement the decisions of the empowered committee in a time-bound manner. The implementation of the decisions taken by the empowered committee may not be bogged down by procedural delays”.

The Financial Commissioner (Revenue) observed that valuable properties were being frittered away due to lack of will on the part of the administrative machinery to safeguard them.

After transferring the land of Dr Ram Lal ENT and Eye Hospital to PUDA, the Deputy Commissioner’s inventory lists a number of government properties under the OUVGL. If PUDA auctions, these, they could fetch crores of rupees. These include 12.2 kanal of prime land near Tailor Road, which has been occupied by the police, 2.6 kanal of land, where the rest house was built, occupied by the Police Department, the old tehsil building (17.6 kanal), the old DTO office (1.4 kanal), 11.18 kanal of ‘kabarstan’ (cremation ground), 98 kanal in Valla village, 44 kanal in Jandiala Guru, 63 kanal in Sultanwind village, 15.18 kanal of Tung Pai, 157 kanal of Mental Hospital, 5.12 kanal of Gumtala, 20 kanal of Khasa have been listed in the inventory.

The list also include 30 kanal of prime land in Verka which has been encroached upon by certain unscrupulous elements. Apart from medical college, irrigation and Mental Hospital, the “Rakh” Shikargarh, near Mental Hospital, measuring 5.5 kanal, rest house of provincial government, now belonging to the Irrigation Department, 295 kanal of Central Government (now occupied by the Army), more than 200 kanal in Patti (subdivision), including a roadways workshop, Dayalpur Rest House of the Canal Department, Khavaspur Rest House (32 kanal). Ibn Kalan (45.5 kanal), which included building, land measuring 40 kanal belonging to the canal department in Gumanpura rest house of the PWD, rest house of the provincial government at Rayya (59.7 kanal).

It may be mentioned here that on the direction of the Deputy Commissioner. The SDM had mutated the ‘surplus’ land of Dr Ram Lal ENT and Eye Hospital to PUDA. According to Mr Tarlochan Singh Bhatti, Estate Officer, PUDA had already taken the possession of the land as directed by the empowered committee.

Mr Harbhupinder Singh Nanda, Additional Chief Administrator, told TNS that PUDA had been implementing the decision of the Empowered Committee in letter and spirit. He said it was ‘baseless allegation’ that PUDA had encroached upon the land of Dr Ram Lal ENT and Eye Hospital as it was already transferred by the district administration. PUDA had prepared an ambitious plan to auction the land so that optimum utilisation of vacant government land could be made. PUDA did not act on its own to take possession of any land. The Empowered Committee had all powers of the Council of Ministers to take decisions so far as the OUVGL scheme was concerned, he said.

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