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HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

MC land sold cheap: Ex-commissioner

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Amritsar, July 31, 2013
First Published: 22:40 IST(31/7/2013) | Last Updated: 22:47 IST(31/7/2013)

Dissatisfied with the MC's giving away prime residential land at Joshi Colony here for throwaway price, former municipal commissioner KS Kang has advised the corporation to annul the July 26 auction and try again to get more bidders.

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He also wants the MC to make the process more transparent. "I understand that there is a recession and it's hard to sell off government property but how come in spite of all the claims of publicity to the auction, only three people were at the bidding. It raises a lot of questions," he said.

The MC auctioned the 4,067-square-yard land for Rs. 36,100 per sq yd, making Rs. 14.68 crore. The MC will use this money to pay salaries and other arrears to its employees. "The money should have gone into a separate account and used only for the city's development," said Kang.

The auction price was in sharp contrast to Rs. 78,500 per sq yd paid for a land nearby in a 2005 auction. "That was a commercial property, agreed, and there could be some difference between the rates of commercial and residential property, but the new auction price should still have been least Rs. 40,000 per sq yd," said the former commissioner.

Kang asked the MC to clarify the kind of residential area it would be. "Will it be a one-man holding or flats or plots? How much of covered area it will have? In case of plots, how much construction area will those have, and was permission secured from the Archaeological Survey of India?" he said.

Stating that there was a vast difference in the prices of commercial and residential property, MC commissioner DPS Kharbanda said the land auctioned in 2005 was commercial and the one sold recently was residential. "The auction price is based on the collector's rate, the reserve price being Rs. 35,000 per sq yd. It was a well-publicised open auction and no one was prohibited from bidding," he said. However, he agreed to look into the matter.

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