By: Sanjeev Verma
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has told the Punjab & Haryana High Court that the approval for a new 100-feet wide, 1.3 km road leading to a resort partly owned by Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, was given by the Punjab Regional & Town Planning and Development Board in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in May 2013.
The GMADA response came on May 14, when the case was last heard.
After the approval, the Punjab government amended the Master Plan and notified it with the new road as part of the amended Master Plan.
As reported by The Indian Express on May 19, the road begins at Majra T-junction (Chandigarh-Kurali-Siswan T-junction) and leads to Palanpur in Kharar tehsil of SAS Nagar district, where Metro Eco Green Resorts is located. The chief minister’s son and daughter-in-law are majority shareholders in the resort.
In its response to a petition filed by a resident of Majra village of SAS Nagar, who has challenged the land acquisition by the government for the road, the GMADA said that Chief Minister Badal chaired the May 28, 2013 meeting of the Punjab Regional & Town Planning and Development Board that gave the go-ahead for the road.
The affected landowner, in the petition filed in the high court, alleged that “the proposed acquisition was meant only to serve the interest of an individual/ person, who has been involved in the construction and/ or development of a hotel project coming up in village Palanpur”.
In the reply to the high court, GMADA Additional Chief Administrator Navjot Kaur said: “On the recommendation of the deputy commissioner, SAS Nagar, the proposal made by the Town and Country Planning Department was considered by the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Board, constituted under Section 3 and 4 of the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act, 1995, in its meeting held on May 28, 2013 under the chairmanship of Chief Minister, Punjab vide Agenda Item No. 26.03, and approved the widening of the existing road network and provision of additional road network in the Master Plan of Mullanpur, which has been re-named as the Master Plan of New Chandigarh vide the same agenda item.”
The case, which came up for hearing on Wednesday, has been posted for the next hearing on May 25.