The fate of P&M Mall, owned by filmmaker-entrepreneur Prakash Jha, hangs in balance following the cancellation of its lease by the Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (Biada) on Wednesday.
The authority issued the order cancelling the lease agreement owing to non-payment of lease fee amounting to Rs 2.50 cr with retrospective effect from 2009 when the shopping mall was opened at Patliputra industrial area.
Biada managing director Anshuli Arya could not be reached for her comments. However, officials claimed that the order was issued after the mall failed to clear up the dues.
General manager of the shopping complex V Mishra called the order ‘unfortunate’ and said the Biada had raised an unreasonable and exorbitant demand. “We have paid Rs 40 lakh as per our assessment of the proportionate use of land. But Biada’s calculations are vague and unreasonable,” he said.
Mishra said that the P&M Mall would move the appellate authority against the order.
“If needed, we will also move the appropriate court, as the order will hit about 5,000 staff engaged in the mall. This will also send a wrong message among those planning to invest in the state,” said Mishra.
The order is likely to affect the functioning of the mall, which has become a prominent shopping-cum-entertainment centre for the city residents.
The state government had allotted the land to Jha in 2006 soon after the JD(U)-BJP combine had come to power in Bihar. The lease of land to the shopping complex, however, ran into legal tangles following a petition challenging the allotment of the land at a ‘throw away’ price.