The Chandigarh Administration has spent over Rs 8 crore on the construction of a school building and a community centre on land near IT Park which was under a legal dispute for long and ownership of which is now no longer with it.
The 3 acre land, on which the two buildings stand, was part of 55.95 acres in Kishangarh village which was acquired by the administration in 2003 for the purpose of IT park’s phase 2 expansion.
However, the land slipped out of administration’s hand when the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed its acquisition notification in 2013 on similar grounds on which the Supreme Court had quashed the acquisition of 272 acres of land, meant for phase 3 of IT park, in October, 2012.
The administration then filed an SLP in the Supreme Court which was also dismissed on March 14, 2014.
After taking legal advise not to file a review petition in SC, the administration on September 3, 2014 dropped its acquisition proceeding against 55.95 and 272 acres of land and proceeded with the recovery procedures and transfer of land to its original owners.
Amidst the legal dispute, the administration lost ownership of the entire land including three acres on which it constructed two buildings.
“Since the administration lost in court, the land had to be transferred to its original owners including Prem Singh who now owns the land in which these two buildings stands constructed, said a senior official.
Officials claim that the administration was in possession of the land when the construction began in 2012. But sources said that the construction was allowed even after the pendency of the dispute and continued even later after the high court quashed the land acquisition notification in 2013.
Chief Engineer SK Chadha said that his department should not be blamed as the approval for the construction of the two buildings came from the Urban Town Planning Department.
What is the way ahead?
Land owner Prem Singh could not be contacted due to his illness, but his son Shamsher Singh told newsline that the family did not want to put the future of hundreds of students at risk by demolition the buildings.
“The family is ready to give back the land if the administration compensates us as per the new land acquisition act,” he said. Under the new land acquisition act, land owners are entitled to compensation at four times the collector’s rate in rural areas. In Kishangarh, the collector’s rate is Rs 1.15 crore per acre. When contacted, Adviser to Administrator Vijay Dev said that he would ask officials to apprise him of the matter at the earliest for finding a solution of the issue.