Tall claims of the Punjab government to provide all facilities to non-resident Indians (NRIs) notwithstanding, a United Kingdom-based Punjabi NRI has been allegedly struggling for the past nine years to get possession of the 57-marla land, which the government had sold to the investor NRI, but nobody has paid attention so far to his grievances.
Chand Singh Johal, an NRI from Moga, who had invested in the state in 2006, has claimed that he was allegedly cheated of crores by the state government in a land deal. He said he has paid at least 60 visits to Punjab over the past nine years to meet officials and politicians, but to no avail.
The government officials, however, said that the NRI had won the auction of Kaner Hotel and Restaurant built over a sprawling 3.88 acres near the Bughipura chowk on the Moga-Ferozepur National Highway at Moga on a Rs 4.5-crore bid from the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) in 2006. After that, the land was registered in his name in June 2006.
The NRI, on the other hand, told the Hindustan Times that he had paid for the 3.88 acres of land notified in the tender; however, later he found that he had been cheated as 57 marla land was still under the possession of PTDC where it was running a petrol pump. The market value of the encroached land is worth crores, he said.
He said he approached the PTDC authorities but they did no listen to him. "Over the years, I have made numerous rounds of government offices and politicians to get possession of the encroached part of the land. Even chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's assurance at an NRI sangat darshan programme at Moga proved of no use," the NRI added.
"One year ago, when Narendra Modi took oath as Prime Minister of India, I had written a detailed letter on the issue, but nobody from his office has responded so far. After that I tried to meet the PM during his Canada visit with relevant documents, but officials did not allow him to meet him."
The NRI had invested another Rs 3.5 crore on the renovation of the rundown complex structure, but extension plans worth another one crore were stalled due to the ongoing feud with the PTDC.
Johal said his business back in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Lester has been suffering due to his frequent visits to Punjab. "I am planning to start an awareness campaign in the UK to warn other overseas Indians of the ways of the Punjab government," said Johal
PTDC officials could not be contacted for comments. Parminder Singh Gill, deputy commissioner, said that the entire matter has been reviewed by the district administration with the PTDC authorities and told to to do justice with the NRI. "A few days ago, NRI Johal met me and I assured him a decision will be taken soon and he will get his 57-marla land soon," said the DC.