M A I N   N E W S

Punjab plans to sell 13,413 sites to generate funds
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Ropar, January 20
Facing financial crises, Punjab is now planning to sell vacant land lying with various government departments. It has hired two companies, Feedback Ventures Pvt Ltd and IL & FS-IDC, to prepare project reports to guide the government in effectively disposing of such land.

The scheme to sell government land has been named Optimum Utilisation of Vacant Government Lands (OUVGL). The government plans to initially transfer vacant properties in the name of the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) and then put them to commercial use.

The PIDB has already got the data collected from various government departments regarding vacant government properties. As per a copy of the report prepared by the PIDB, which is available with The Tribune, till date 13,413 sites have been identified across the state that can be put to commercial use. These include 436 properties of the Education Department, 371 of the Revenue Department, 229 of the Health Department, 180 of the Animal Husbandry, 75 of PWD (B&R), 32 of the Police Department, 4,163 of BDPOs, 1,753 of improvement trusts, 1,277 of the Central government, 1,009 of the municipal corporation, 11 of the PSEB, six of the mandi board and 599 of the Forest Department. Besides, sites of many other departments have also been included in the list.

District-wise 685 sites have been identified in Amritsar, 1,128 in Patiala, 859 in Ludhiana, 4,637 in Jalandhar, 1,354 at Nawanshahr, 21 at Gurdaspur, 422 at Fatehgarh Sahib, 60 at Muktsar, 86 at Tarn Taran, 420 at Moga, 65 at Mansa, 11 at Hoshiarpur, 234 at Barnala, 71 at Ferozepur, 130 at Faridkot, 274 at SAS Nagar, 531 at Ropar, 221 at Sangrur and 2,204 at Bathinda.

As per the detailed project report, a copy of which is available with The Tribune, the PIDB has been designated as the nodal agency for commercial exploitation and marketing of vacant, surplus or under-utilised land or building, etc.

In the report it has also been stated that under utilised or occupied government lands in the form of government colonies would be transferred to the PIDB for commercial use. The said modes of development of vacant government sites as per the report would be to lease out these for specified purpose, public-private partnership or sale. The PWD has been designated for assisting the PIDB in this. PWD executive engineers have been designated as nodal officers while the PIDB would provide them equipment for the purpose.

Highly placed sources in the PWD alleged that private companies were being paid crores for preparation of project reports for selling government lands. The government could easily save the amount by putting to use the engineers and architects available with the Town Planning and PWD Departments. These companies were getting all data collected from government departments and just giving it shape using computer graphics to charge crores. Many have also questioned the logic of selling government land for tiding over financial crises.



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