The Punjab Congress on Tuesday urged the Parkash Singh Badal government to immediately scrap the optimum use of vacant government land (OUVGL) scheme and stop selling public assets as the future generations would never forgive the political masters for this anti-Punjab and erroneous policy.
The state Congress criticised Badal for "squandering, destroying and guzzling" government assets to further their own political interests.
The Congress urged the Badal government to issue a white paper and list all government assets sold through various departments and the investments made for capital building, if any, from the money accrued from such sales.
PPCC spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira said as per the RTI information received from the PIDB, the Punjab government under the OUVGL scheme had sold off prime public properties worth Rs 1,000 crore during the recent years.
He said the PIDB auctioned off the old and prestigious Amritsar Jail for Rs 152 crore, 25% of which was paid by the bidders, of which 10% was forfeited as the buyers refused to honour their commitment.
Similarly, the Amritsar Development Authority has sold off government assets to collect Rs 348 crore, in the years 2007 to 2013. The government guest house at Kohara in Ludhiana was sold in the shape of commercial cum residential plots for approximately Rs 15.99 crore, of which the government has received Rs 4.63 crore. The Canal Colony at Bathinda, too, has been auctioned for Rs 16.81 crore, of which the government has already collected Rs 14.98 crore. Gurdaspur Jail has been sold in the shape of plots for Rs 12.32 crore.
He said the Patiala Development Authority had transferred eight sites to the PUDA for sale under the OUVGL scheme that included Rajpura Colony, 62 acres of PWD B&R near the municipal corporation, 90 acres of PWD B&R department store and sub-divisional office.
Khaira said the above mentioned state-owned properties sold or up for sale were only the tip of the iceberg, as the government might have clandestinely transferred properties to other government agencies, besides the PIDB and PUDA, the value of which would be alarming.
Khaira said since the PIDB was directly headed by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, all the money collected through such sales was put at his disposal for populist and non-productive programmes such as the sangat darshan, the so-called progressive summit held recently and the Kabaddi World Cup.