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the tribune impact
Camelot: Punjab MLAs terminate pact with Tatas
Opt for group housing on 13 acres
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
Le Corbusier’s capitol complex may be saved from being dwarfed by a high-rise “Camelot” with Punjab legislators, who had joined hands with the Tatas to develop a housing project in the vicinity of the city, deciding to terminate the agreement.

The Punjab MLAs’ society, named the Punjabi Cooperative House Building Society, Mohali, terminated its agreement with Tata Housing and Hash Builders Private limited to jointly develop 21.2 acres of land in Kansal village at a meeting yesterday.

The meeting, presided over by building society chairman and Punjab Assembly Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon, revoked the general power of attorney issued to the Tatas to build a 19-tower housing project comprising 1,734 apartments.

The termination of the agreement as well as revocation of the power of attorney is likely to be contested with Hash Builders claiming this cannot be done unilaterally. Sources said rather than concern for environment, due to which the project has been stayed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the legislators had terminated the agreement because they were not paid the third installment due to them. Besides, the society members wanted to put an end to the income tax notices received by them as a fallout of the deal.

Kahlon said Hash Builders were to give the third installment to the legislators after approval of the site plan by the municipal council. This was done in December last but Hash continued to withhold the third installment.

Kahlon said the society had issued a show-cause notice to Hash two months back following which the company claimed it was unable to pay the installment because construction activity on the project had been stayed by the court as also all sale and purchase. Kahlon said since there was a clause in the tripartite agreement specifying that the society could ask the Tatas for money in case Hash refused to pay up, the society had issued a notice to the Tatas last month. Since there was no reply to the notice, they had decided to terminate the agreement.

The legislators have now decided to go in for a group housing project. Kahlon said the members were ready to leave seven acres of land, which had already been transferred to the Tatas, and build 14-marla houses each on the remaining 13 acres. Society executive member Madan Mohan Mittal said in case the Tatas wanted to return the seven acres back to the society, the members were ready to return the Rs 32 lakh received in two installments from Hash.

The sources said members (126 in all) of the society had received demands for payment of tax of up to Rs 60 lakh as the authorities had calculated tax on Rs 82 lakh that was to be received by them as part of the deal as well as the price of the flat in the housing project. The power of attorney had been cancelled mainly to iron out tax troubles, the sources said.

Hash Builders promoter Sudhir Chaddha, when contacted, claimed the agreement could not be terminated unilaterally. He also claimed that no payment was due to the society members and that his company was observing the clauses of the agreement. Chaddha claimed the general power of attorney was irrevocable. Tata Housing Managing-Director Brotin Banerjee’s office, when approached, said the company would get back to the Tribune but did not do so.

The Tribune carried a series of articles highlighting the danger posed to the Chandigarh skyline by the multi-tower Tata Camelot project.





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