Having voiced the strongest opposition to the controversial multi-crore apartment project,Samatara Cottages,coming up near Shimla,the state unit of the CPM on Wednesday revived its drive against Bambloe builders and sought an in-depth vigilance inquiry into the project,which was sanctioned by the previous BJP government in Himachal.
The new Congress government,last week,had directed the state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau to probe the project,which the Congress (as opposition) had opposed vehemently. Hailing the move,Shimla deputy mayor and CPM member Tikender Panwar recalled that the party had highlighted a series of irregularities and Indian Forests Act violations by Bambloe builders – an alleged front of DLF – but the BJP government rejected demands for scrapping of the project.
Panwar added that even the forest clearance for the project was granted in a hush hush manner and beside forest officials,the deputy commissioners office,the Shimla Municipal Corporation and top government functionaries were hand in glove in granting approval for the project located in Kanlog ward of Shimla Municipal Corporation.
A preliminary inquiry had revealed that the old forest road from the Parsi Cemetery to Old Brewery carved out during the British Raj was damaged and trees had been felled illegally.
Initially to get hold of the land,the most important requirement was to get hold of the road. But the road was meant for mules and belonged to the forest department and could in no circumstance be used for the vehicle, Panwar said,adding that the company had crossed this hurdle by forging signatures of a large number of people demanding the repair of the Kanlog- Beerkhana Road.
Some of the signatories died long back and some have plainly refused stating that they have no idea how their names had come up in the memorandum addressed to the chief minister,he added.
The CPM member further said that the municipal commissioner granted a no-objection certificate to the builders and on the same day an application for the housing project was submitted (April 22,2009).