Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

‘They usurped government land… it is nothing but theft of public property’

Written by Vipin Pubby | Posted: November 10, 2013 3:46 am

The Himachal Pradesh High Court last week restored possession of Dharamsala stadium to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association. The state had taken over the stadium on Oct 26 after cancelling lease of all land given to the HPCA. In this Idea Exchange,moderated by Editor (Chandigarh) Vipin Pubby,Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh defends his govt’s actions

Vipin Pubby: Your government’s action against the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) is being described as a vendetta against the previous BJP regime.

This is not correct. I am not interested in who controls the HPCA. I am not a cricketer. Earlier,as the Chief Minister I had passed a law stating that every sports body in Himachal Pradesh must hold elections properly,membership should be open,and the process should be transparent. Also,at least two officials from the Sports Department must be present in every committee that certifies such an election. But the moment Mr Dhumal came to power,he repealed this law. The HPCA was formed,headed by his son,Anurag Thakur. I don’t mind if he (Anurag) gets elected as per rules. But it was registered as a society with the Registrar of Cooperative Societies and it also availed several benefits. The land where this stadium was built at Dharamsala in Kangra district,properties worth crores of rupees were given on an annual lease of just one rupee. Land belonging to the Education,Agriculture and Horticulture departments was given to this stadium. Then they said that since Dharamsala didn’t have a good hotel,they would construct a hostel for players. This was approved by the previous Cabinet in a funny manner. It was a shamlat land (village common land). However,instead of building a hostel,they built a five-star hote. Even today,a part of the stadium’s land is in the name of the state government. They must have forgotten to do its mutation in the land records.

Raghvendra Rao: What was the revenue lost by the state government because of this?

The question of revenue loss does not arise as very valuable land,which was meant for education,horticulture and agriculture,was diverted. There is more to this HPCA thing. They went to Kanpur and formed an association by the name of HPCA. This HPCA stood for the Himalayan Players’ Cricket Association. They didn’t inform the government. The Himalayan Players’ Cricket Association was later converted into the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association and registered as a company under the Companies Act in Kanpur. The rules state that if you form a company in Himachal Pradesh,you have to get it registered in Chandigarh. That’s how they got government land transferred to a private company,of which they (Dhumal’s son and associates) had absolute ownership. This is illegal. They enjoyed all the benefits by first forming a society and then transforming it into a company. This is nothing but a clear case of cheating,and I hate to be cheated.

Ashwani Sharma: What corrective steps would you like the HPCA to take now?

A criminal case has been registered. They should revert to the old position and dissolve the company. They must hold elections according continued…

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