The Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT) has not received any favour at all in leasing 5.01 acres of land in Ullahawas village in Haryana’s Gurgaon, said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, rubbishing BJP allegations.
“The RGCT, in fact, turned down an offer to lease the land at a concessional rate that not-for-profit trusts are eligible for and opted for the normal rate,” said Singhvi. The special rate offered was R1,000 per acre per year but the trust lease is at Rs 3,00,000 per acre per year.
Singhvi said the land belonged to the panchayat and the lease agreement was signed after proper approvals by the gram sabha.
“The BJP allegations are a case of complete lack of awareness of facts, further distorted by irrelevant political angle,” Singhvi said. Through a resolution of August 20, 2009, Ullahawas village panchayat leased the land to the trust for a period of 33 years.
Singhvi said the land is intended for no commercial purposes and there is no change of ownership of the land. “The lease agreement specifies several conditions for the use of the land, primarily that only a charitable hospital will run there,” Singhvi said.
Pointing out that the trust offers hugely subsidised eye treatment through two hospitals already in Uttar Pradesh, Singhvi said, the BJP allegations would only lead to denying the poor and deserving patients access to affordable care. RGCT hospitals have treated 8.4 lakh patients already in the last nine years at costs less than one fourth of market. The trust also focuses on women empowerment through self help groups and vocational training.
The Congress spokesperson rejected BJP charges that the land in question was specifically excluded from an acquisition drive that the Haryana government had started.
“Initially the Haryana government had notified 1,417 acres for acquisition. As it happens always, all the land notified is not finally acquired. In this case, 608 acres were left out of which you are talking about five acres,” Singhvi said.