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A Tribune Exclusive
Now, film city project runs into trouble
Raveen Thukral
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
After raising objections on the medicity project, UT Adviser Pradip Mehra has now recommended an inquiry by an “independent Central agency” into the Multimedia-cum-Film City Project, which was allotted to Parsvnath Developers.

In a note sent to the Administrator, Gen SF Rodrigues (retd), Mehra, while responding to Parsvnath Developers recent move to withdraw from the project, has again raised questions on the evaluation of the land for the same and said the benchmark figure of Rs 175 crore was grossly “undervalued”.

It may be mentioned here that Parsvnath has expressed the desire to withdraw from the project, slated to come up at Sarangpur Institutional Area, on grounds that even after 20 months of the agreement the Administration had failed to handover the land, free from all encumbrances and occupations. The developer has also demanded the refund of Rs 47.75 crore, which was paid to the administration as 25 per cent of the bid amount.

In his note, Mehra, while referring to certain media reports on the project, has said these controversies raises doubts on whether procedures were followed and whether all bidders were given a level playing field. Stating that the examination of the relating file showed that no project report was prepared prior to its initiation, Mehra has said, “its absence raises disturbing issues” as the project’s outlay was of more than Rs 500 crore.

He also questioned the haste behind the clearance of the project by pointing out that the proposal was moved up by the Director (IT) and was approved by the Finance Secretary, and the then Adviser and the Administrator on the same day. He has noted that no input, recommendation or examination was asked for nor given by the three major contributing departments- Engineering, Architecture and the Estate Office.

Stating that having a financial consultant for the project doesn’t absolve the administration of its responsibilities, Mehra has also questioned the propriety behind selecting the same. “The appointment of the consultant was an arbitrary one and no there was no transparent bidding process while selecting it”.

Mehra’s note was in response to the Finance Secretary, Sanjay Kumar’s, suggestion for setting up a committee, comprising Home Secretary, Deputy Commissioner and Director (IT), to negotiate a mutual and amicable termination of the agreement between the Administration and the Parsvnath Developers.

While Mehra’s move to suggest an inquiry by a Central agency is going to add fuel to the ongoing slugfest between him and Rodrigues, there are many in the Administration who feel that the Adviser has apparently jumped to the conclusion without going through all the details of the case. They feel that Mehra’s recommendation is premature since the issue of paying back the money to Parsvnath is yet to be decided. First a decision has to be taken to terminate the contract or not, they say.

Incidentally, as per the original agreement, Parsavnath is yet to pay the balance of Rs 143.25 crore. However, it has refused to do so since the land has not been handed over to them due the Administration’s failure to clear it of all encumbrances, primarily the two 11 KV high-tension lines of the PSEB.



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