Over 400 NRIs who had invested in Punjab Tourism Development Corporation’s (PTDC) Holiday Home Club scheme will get 1,100 dollars each of their investment back that too with interest, thirty years after the scheme was launched.
The Punjab and Haryana high court has upheld the Punjab NRI Commission’s decision on refund by PTDC for failing to provide the promised facility, even as it said that each investor will have to seek refund individually. The scheme ‘holiday home club’ was floated by PTDC in 1986 to develop various properties across India in which 408 NRIs had invested 1,100 dollars each. They were to get free lodging facility for two weeks in a year at any of PTDC properties in Goa, Srinagar, Mussoorie, Shimla, Dharamshala and Jaipur. However, since 2000 not even a single NRI has got the facility.
The PTDC also did not have ‘satisfactory’ record of facility provided prior to 2000. It was in 2004 that the government decided to disinvest the properties, but it was done without taking into confidence the NRI investors, the commission order states. Most properties stand closed now.
Acting on a complaint, the NRI commission had, on October 19, 2016, ordered refund of Rs 1,100 dollars each to all 408 NRIs with 12% interest since the time of deposit.
The complaint was filed by one such NRI investor, Bharat Mittal, who had alleged that neither facilities were provided by PTDC nor it is refunding the invested amount.
The tourism development corporation had approached the high court last month against the commission order claiming that the latter did not have jurisdiction to pass the same. Also, it was argued that the commission was approached by one individual and an order benefitting all could not have been passed.
The high court held that the commission has not exceeded its jurisdiction in ordering refund of the amount deposited by the complainant along with interest.
But as all the members have not approached the commission for refund, its judgment cannot be implemented for the benefit of all the members.
Any member who feels aggrieved can approach the commission for the refund, the high court bench of justice MMS Bedi said, while disposing of the appeal of the tourism development corporation against commission’s decision.