Five years after the Kapurthala agriculture department gave possession of around 2 acres land it owned at Nurpur Dona village in the district to Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) on the condition that that it would give them land elsewhere and also construct a Micro Nutrient and Soil Testing Laboratory and an office, PUDA has only partially kept its word. It has given the department the land, but construction work on the lab is yet to start.
The agriculture department owned 50 acres in the area and of these 48 acres had been acquired by PUDA in 2001, under the Optimum Utilisation of Vacant Government Lands (OUVGL) Scheme in July 2001.
Part of the land was to be used to construct a New Judicial Court Complex and a District Administrative Complex while the remaining land was proposed to set up a residential colony to sell plots.
In 2010, PUDA demanded the possession of the remaining land where agriculture department was operating their seed farm and an office, claiming that they needed it to set up a residential colony.
"We will fail to lay out a master plan for the area if the agriculture department does not hand over this land to us and the government would suffer a huge loss," a PUDA official had claimed at that time.
Taking cognisance of the matter, agriculture department authorities agreed to hand over the land on the condition that PUDA would provide land elsewhere and also construct a Micro Nutrient and Soil Testing Laboratory.
At that time, PUDA authorities agreed and after a few days demanded a detailed project report along with the building drawing in December 2010 from the agriculture department.
Then, even as the land was provided, the lab building is yet to be constructed. "We sent them (PUDA) the drawings and followed it up with many reminder letters, to no avail," an agriculture department official said.
With work on office yet to start, the agriculture department is facing a loss of Rs 6 lakh a year, as it is now functioning from a leased building with a monthly rent of Rs 50,000.
Kapurthala chief agriculture officer Ravi Sabharwal said he had only recently taken charge and was unaware of the details of the issue. "We are, however, facing a significant amount of loss due to the delay in the construction of the soil testing lab. PUDA officials should take note and construct the laboratory promised for the benefit of farmers."
PUDA's Jalandhar additional chief administrator Gurpreet Singh Khehra said that he had not been approached by anybody from the district agriculture office since he had taken charge.
"I am not aware of this agreement, but if the agriculture department needs any help from PUDA, they must approach and I will take up the matter on priority," he said.
We are facing a significant amount of loss due to the delay in the construction of the lab. PUDA officials construct the laboratory for the benefit of farmers.
Ravi Sabharwal, Kapurthala chief agriculture officer
I am not aware of the agreement between PUDA and the department, but if the agriculture department needs any help from PUDA, they must approach and I will take up the matter on priority.
Gurpreet Singh Khehra, additional chief administrator, PUDA