BJP leader and vice-chairman of the Punjab State Planning Board Rajinder Bhandari has come out openly in support of the Welfare Society H & I Blocks, BRS Nagar.
The society has failed to pay the amount of the land allotted to them way back in 1985 and is running an illegal marriage hall in the name of community centre in BRS Nagar.
Bhandari has written to Local Bodies Minister Anil Joshi — Newsline has accessed the letter, dated February 2, 2014 — to ‘settle’ the matter of the community centre which has deposited Rs 25,500 only to the Ludhiana Improvement Trust.
The market value of the land measuring 2,000 square yards currently stands at more than Rs 40 crore and it was allotted to the society in 1985.
A notice was issued by the LIT in 1994 to pay an amount of Rs 4.05 lakh to the society but it never deposited the amount, and the LIT officials also never took any action against them.
Information taken under the RTI Act by Baljeet Singh, a local resident, shows that the society has been running the marriage hall illegally for years with no approvals taken for building plan, no house tax and sewerage charges paid, and no change of land use approval taken.
Also, there is no parking space which causes inconvenience to residents during parties, and loud music is also played at night.
Chief vigilance officer V P Singh raided the LIT premises in November 2013 to know about the actual status of the community centre, and ordered registration of an FIR against the guilty LIT officials for the missing records and files.
Finally, it was on April 1, 2014, that the LIT rose from its slumber and issued a notice to the society for producing all documents in seven days. The society then approached Minister Joshi to ‘settle’ the matter.
Surprisingly, the local bodies department acknowledged Bhandari’s intervention in the matter and in its letter dated March 27, 2014 to the chairman, Ludhiana Improvement Trust, ordered them to “present report in the matter as soon as possible”. Other than this, no action has been taken for 29 years to recover the pending amount from the society.
Baljeet Singh, the RTI applicant, said, “It is utterly surprising to see how a politician is shielding the corrupt defaulters who have been running the marriage hall for years and earning money without paying pending dues worth crores for 29 years.”
BJP leader Bhandari did not respond to calls.