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Punjab moves SC for land allotment to two IT firms
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 19
The Punjab Government, incapacitated by the Supreme Court stay on allotment of industrial plots in Mohali over a dispute on the change of land use plan, has moved the apex court for permission to allot 64 acres of land to the TCS and Wipro to set up their units there as part of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s initiative to develop it as a major IT hub.

The stay was ordered by the Supreme Court on February 3 on a joint petition by 79 persons who had applied for plots in the township under government’s earlier scheme, reserving 30 per cent of the area in Mohali Industrial Focal Point (MIFP) for housing purposes.

They had moved the apex court after the Punjab and Haryana High Court had allowed their petition against the change of land use plan by the Punjab Government in August, 2004 but not granted them substantive relief regarding the allotment of plots by draw of lots as was contemplated in 2001 scheme.

After the Congress Government took over in 2002, Amarinder Singh had focussed more on developing Mohali as an IT destination on a par with Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai and got the land use plan changed in August, 2005 from housing plan and made it completely reserved for industries, which included setting up of the multiplexes.

A Bench comprising Mr Justice S.B. Sinha and Mr Justice Dalveer Bhandari taking cognizance of the Punjab Government’s application issued notices to all 79 petitioners.

Their counsel Jasbir Singh Mallik, who had filed a caveat on behalf of his clients to ensure that no order was passed on Punjab Government’s application without hearing them, was directed to submit a reply within six weeks by the Bench on why the plea of the state should not be allowed.

The Punjab Government counsel Arun Kumar Sinha in the application contended that the TCS and Wipro’s request for allotment of land had been accepted by the Allotment Committee (AC), headed by the Punjab Chief Secretary on November 23, 2005 and accordingly a recommendation was made by it to allot 25 and 39.3 acre plots, respectively, to the two companies.

“Only formal allotment letters of this land to the two companies are to be issued,” the government said, pointing out that the decision regarding these allotments was taken much before the February 3 stay order.

The state government said the court “may permit allotment of the land to the TCS and Wipro subject to such conditions as may be deemed fit by it”.

State’s contention was that since the land in question fell within the area that was subject matter of the SLP by 79 persons, the government was unable to proceed further with the allotments.

The government said it had been able to persuade the TCS and Wipro after a lot of efforts to invest in the state and develop Mohali as the main IT centre of North India.

The establishment of the units by country’s two top IT companies there would not only generate a large number of employment opportunities but encourage other business houses to invest in the state, the government contended.




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