FORGET OUT-OF-TURN allotments. The Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) seems to be sitting over a much larger property scam in the name of rehabilitation.
Unscrupulous elements in the development agency, already under scanner of investigating agencies for misappropriation of funds, are said to have pocketed millions by ‘rehabilitating’ fictitious persons.
Take the case of Makdoompur, a hamlet in Gomti Nagar. The vast tract of land around the village, now Sector-I of Gomti Nagar Extension, was acquired by the LDA as part of the housing scheme. Those who had already built houses or a structure on the acquired land were supposed to be adjusted and relocated under a rehabilitation package mooted by the LDA. These people were asked to furnish documentary proof of their property and register themselves with the department. The cut-off date for registration was set as October 2000.
The rehabilitation package included a plot at an alternative site, under the housing scheme, equal in size to the one vacated by the owner.
While 75 square metre of the land worth Rs 3 lakh was to be provided free of cost, the payment for the remaining portion was to be made by the displaced person on the basis of the prevailing prices.
According to sources, the LDA received around 498 registrations. The Authority also reportedly also made a video film of the area to keep bogus elements at bay. “Of this, 208 people have already been allotted alternative plots both in Sector–I and Sector-VI of Gomtinagar extension,” said an official on condition of anonymity. This leaves 290 people who are still to be adjusted by the LDA under its schemes.
“I find it hard to believe that such a large number of constructions/structures existed in the area in 2000 when the village which was marked as ‘abadi (populated)’ itself had less than 500 houses,” said the official.
“My apprehensions were confirmed when several residents of the area with documentary proof to back their occupancy claim gave specific examples of how bogus people had got themselves registered in connivance with certain LDA officials to avail the lucrative benefits of the rehabilitation package,” he added.
No wonder, the register containing the names of those to be rehabilitated is being kept as a closely guarded secret by VN Singh, executive engineer in-charge of the matter related to land acquisition.
Singh also foiled an attempt by a member of the fourth estate extract information in this connection under the Right to Information Act.
The engineer sent him a demand note asking him to deposit around Rs 10,000 with the department as cost for the information being sought by him.