The information technology ( IT) sector is in doldrums in SAS Nagar. This can be gauged from the fact that Punjab Information and Communications Technology Corporation (Punjab Infotech), which was incorporated in 1976 as the nodal agency of the Punjab government for promoting IT industry in the state, has not implemented even a single project successfully in the past seven years.
Instead, Punjab Infotech has suffered ` 40-crore loss in the past three years as most of their projects failed. Considering the poor state of the key government agency, US-based IT giant Dell announced its closure in SAS Nagar recently. HT takes a look at some of the key projects of Punjab Infotech, which failed to take off.
Industrial plots in Sector 67 cancelled, LOSS ` 9-CR
In April 2010, Punjab Infotech floated off shelf scheme for allotment of industrial plots for setting up IT units in Sector 67, and recommended six applicants for allotments. But, the corporation neither executed the lease deed nor handed over the possession of plots to allottees. Later, following the Punjab and Haryana high court directions, the corporation cancelled the allotment of the scheme and suffered ` 9-crore loss as it was forced to retur n the money to successful allottees with nearly ` 2-crore interest. It also paid ` 1.6-crore development charges and ` 5-crore advance income.
IT plots in Ropar cancelled, LOSS ` 80 LAKH
In 2010, the corporation launched a scheme for allotment of industrial plots at IT park, Railmajra (Rupnagar), on 12.11 acres at ` 4,000 per square yard. The plot was to be allotted to 11 successful applicants and development work was given to the Punjab State Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) at an estimated cost of ` 8.26 crore and the corporation paid
` 2.5 crore in advance. But, the land on which the IT park was proposed to be developed was categorised as forest and a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the forest department was a must before undertaking any development on it. However, instead of obtaining the NOC, Punjab Infotech decided to cancel the plots. As a result, the corporation suffered a loss on the account of advance and development charges of ` 80 lakh.
Rajpura IT project failed to take off, LOSS ` 6 CR
In 2009, the corporation decided to acquire 1,276 acres for setting up an integrated IT and knowledge industry park comprising six villa ges in Rajpura. The rate was fixed at ` 11 lakh per acre to be paid to farmers, but they agitated and demanded ` 18 lakh per acre. To buy the land, Punj ab Infotech took ` 133crore loan from the State Bank of Patiala. After the agitation, Punjab Infotech decided to drop the project and suffered ` 5.78crore loss on account of paying interest to the bank, development charges and consultancy charges.
Punjab Infotech refunded ` 4.1 cr to bidder, no action against officials
Acting on the directions of the high cour t, Punjab Infotech refunded ` 4.15 crore to SAS Nagar resident Nirankar Singh, who had bid ` 62 crore for a 1.52acre commercial site in Sector 67 in July 2011, but had refused to buy the property. Later, citing procedural irregularities, the corporation had declared the auction null and void. Surprisingly, till date no action has been taken against the officers concerned for the negligence due to which the IT tower project was scrapped. In 2007, the gover nment had announced the construction of an IT tower in Sector 67 to house offices. The project was scrapped next year.
No auction of booths for past four years
Back i n Apri l 2 0 1 0 , Punjab Infotech held auction of 10 commercial booths and five shop-cum-of fices (SCOs) in Sector 72 of Industrial Area in Phase 8, but was able to sell only one booth. Since then, the officers concerned never took any initiative to hold auction.
Punjab Infotech proves white elephant for state
The state government had failed to fix any accountability of the managing directors of the 20 companies in SAS Nagar which were shut down in the past few years causing a whopping ` 20-crore loss to it. The companies were set up at Eltop Complex in Phase 8 of Industrial Area in 1978 after the incorporation of Punjab State Electronics Development and Production Corporation Limited (PSEDPCL) in 1976, which later became Punjab Infotech and was undertaken by the state government.