Govt seeks report on land deals for Jalandhar bypass

Jalandhar, May 23: Taking cognisance of a May 6 report exposing a shady deal to purchase chunks of 380 acres to be acquired by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the construction of Jalandhar bypass, the Punjab government has sought a report on the same from the Punjab Town Planning Department.

Chief Town Planner, Punjab, Harnek Singh said it would be ascertained as to how the Town Planning Department kept issuing CLUs even after the issuance of gazette notification by the NHAI in January this year.“We have received the report and will soon send it to the government for further action,” said Harnek Singh.Though he refused to divulge details, sources said the government had sought details of all CLUs and their nature after the issuance of NHAI notification.

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Details of the person who has purchased the land have also been sought since the NHAI conducted a survey around a year ago. The sources said the government had specifically asked for details of the land deals struck by those involved in the Hoshiarpur land scam.It is learnt that many senior officials of the state government too have stakes in the project.

It is shocking that the Revenue and Town Planning Departments continue to register sale deeds and even issue the CLUs despite two notifications issued by the NHAI under Section 3 (a) and Section 3(A) of the NHAI Act, 1956, in January and February this year.

Meanwhile, Rajiv Verma, SDM-1 Jalandhar, who is also the competent authority for land acquisition, is learnt to have written to the Town Planning Department to cancel the CLUs in over 23 villages after the gazette notification issued by the NHAI on January 24 this year.In a letter to the Revenue Department and the Town Planning Department on May 7, a day after the report was published in these columns, Verma ordered a ban on any further sale or purchase of land ‘intended’ to be bought by the NHAI for the project.

“We have also incorporated the same in the district revenue records to prevent any confusion over the issue,” said Verma. District Town Planner Naval Kishore said when there was already a 200 feet wide road proposed in the master plan, what was the need to plan a bypass, which was almost running parallel to the proposed road by a mere distance of 20 to 50 feet in most of the places.“We have written to the NHAI about the fact and urged it to reconsider the route plan, keeping the proposed 200 feet wide road in mind,” said Kishore.

Source Tribune India