Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh, on Thursday, welcomed the Punjab and Haryana high court order that status quo be maintained with regard to Kothi No. 11A located on The Mall, Patiala, which the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) authorities were planning to auction. The particular Kothi is an important part of Patiala’s heritage.
Upset over the government move, some of the concerned citizens had moved the high court, highlighting how the state government was clandestinely executing a plan to rob the princely city of Patiala of its heritage and create a concrete jungle in the garden city under the garb of modern urbanisation when there was no such need or demand.
Capt Amarinder said the target was a strip of land behind the heritage buildings -- one of them currently housing the office of the ADGP Railways Police -- from Fountain Chowk to Children Memorial Chowk in the heart of the city.
He said, on April 27, 18 commercial sites had been auctioned by the PUDA on the above said location in utter disregard to the law governing the protection and maintenance of heritage buildings. All the 18 sites were bought by the ruling party activists. Auction for 34 residential dwelling units at this site was, however, deferred for unknown reasons.
As per law, no construction can be made within the 100-metre radius of a heritage building or site. In this case, even the buildings constructed across the Fountain Chowk to Children Memorial road do fall within the prohibited limits.
“Next on the list of another heritage building likely to be sacrificed was Kothi No. 11A, The Mall, which once housed the office of the chief engineer, public health, Punjab. But thanks to the timely intervention by the division bench of justice SS Saron and Justice Gurmeet Ram of the High Court, a ‘status quo’ has been ordered in CWP 7956 of 2016 in respect to this Kothi,” Capt Amarinder said.
“This building stands in a beautiful landscape and could be leased out to be a heritage hotel. Ironically, PUDA and the department of town and country planning had shown this area in its drawings as a plain piece of land for its ‘smooth disposal’,” he said.