Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, February 23
More than 12 years after its completion, the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) has failed to sell off a commercial complex, market value of which is said to be above Rs200 crore.
Situated on the Rani Jhansi road, the complex comprises rooms/space for showrooms, offices, banks, apartments and basement parking.
Due to neglect, the building is in bad shape now. Floors and the parking area have not been cleaned for years.
According to information, more than Rs14 crore was spent on the complex, stone of which was laid in August 2000 by the then Local Bodies Minister, Balram Ji Dass Tandon. The construction was completed in 2007.
It is learnt that an auction was held to sell the entire complex, but it remained unsuccessful despite spending huge sums on advertisements to attract bidders.
An official said the reserve price for the commercial complex was around Rs197 crore.
The complex has turned into a dump yard, with garbage strewn all around. Some switchboards have broken. Lifts are not working and shutters and iron pipes have corroded.
There is space for three banks and 12 showrooms on the ground floor, two restaurants and one departmental store on the first floor, 36 offices and four shops on the second to the fourth floor, and eight flats on the fifth floor. The commercial complex has a basement parking, which can accommodate 251 cars, as per information.
Though no plans were made to sell the complex, LIT authorities had allowed a firm to station its mobile eatery just outside the building a few years ago. Sources said the eatery firm is of the close aide of a political leader.
Questions are always being raised over the role of LIT authorities as well as the government for ignoring the building complex, which is situated at a walking distance from Ghumar Mandi, one of the prominent markets, where a large number of people visit every day from various parts of Punjab and neighbouring states.
Even in an audit report in the past, objections were raised as the building is not being sold. It was stated in the report that the value of the complex was depreciating.
A city-based civil engineer-cum-president of “Aap Ki NGO”, Baljeet Singh said, “A huge amount has been spent on the complex. The government should find out a solution. It should consider bringing changes in the policy regarding the commercial complex. If the entire complex can’t be sold, LIT should hold a separate auction for floors, showrooms or offices. It can also sell shops or offices space by per sq ft area method. The government can also opt for letting it out.”
Superintending Engineer, Improvement Trust, Sukhbir Singh Jakhar, said attempts were made twice to sell the complex, but no one came forward to purchase it. He said they would chalk out a plan.
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