The Haryana cabinet will on Wednesday consider leasing out eight acres of public land at Motilal Nehru School of Sports in Rai, Sonepat, at a highly concessional rate to Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar for setting up a wrestling academy.
Interestingly, the two-time Olympic medal winner, who is expected to be a beneficiary of the Haryana government's largesse, is a resident of Baprola in Delhi and a railway employee.
A committee of secretaries, constituted to examine the matter, had, however, suggested since the sports school is built on public land, the Sushil Kumar Foundation should be allotted land elsewhere for the academy.
The cabinet may overrule the committee's advice. "Options, including prevailing land rates, will be pondered over by the council of ministers before finalising the mode of leasing out or allotting land to the Sushil Kumar Foundation," sources told HT.
One of the options being explored is to lease out around eight acres to the foundation for just Rs 34,000 per acre annually for 33 years.
A district-level committee, set up initially for evaluating the land, had found that the collector rate of the land was about Rs 95 lakh per acre. The evaluation was based on the rate of similarly placed land in adjoining villages since the collector rate of the school land, which once fell in the revenue estates of Sewli and Ferozepur Khadar villages, was not fixed.
Since the land in question abuts the land procured for the Rajiv Gandhi Education City (RGEC), the district-level committee said that land for the RGEC had been allotted at the rate of Rs 5,940 per square metre to educational institutions by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) in 2011.
Sehwag benefited earlier
In 2008, the cabinet had leased out about three acres of panchayat land at Silani Kesho in Jhajjar district to cricketer Virender Sehwag at highly concessional rate of Rs 51,000 annually for setting up a cricket academy and school.
Promoting sports or garnering glory?
In a bid to garner glory, the Haryana government had in August 2013 amended its sports policy and offered an incentive by providing land for sports academies to Olympic medallists from the state. A new clause was added in the policy to accommodate players having a Haryana link.
It said that an Olympic medal winner will be eligible if he/she has represented Haryana or at least one of his/her parents is born in Haryana. As per the policy, land can be provided to an Olympic medallist for opening an academy in the discipline in which he/she has won the medal. Land of up to 10 acres can be provided on lease at concessional rates.
The policy mandated that a committee constituted under the chief secretary and comprising the financial commissioner, revenue; principal secretary, development and panchayats; principal secretary, urban local bodies; and principal secretary, sports, will decide the terms and conditions of land allotment and establishment of academies.