JIT in the soup for ‘purchasing’ its own land

  • Ravinder Vasudeva, Hindustan Times, Jalandhar:
  • Updated: Dec 18, 2014 22:42 IST

The Jalandhar Improvement Trust (JIT) has landed in a serious financial trouble after it took the controversial decision to purchase its own land from the municipal corporation at 45 crore to bail out the civic body from financial crisis it faced.

Under political pressure to provide financial assistance to the cash-strapped MC, the JIT purchased the land measuring Rs 4,600 square yards from the civic body in 2011, just before the January 2012 assembly elections.

Interestingly, the land in question near Partap Bagh, once a swimming pool maintained by the MC, actually belonged to the improvement trust itself but in the sale deed it was shown as “sold” to JIT by officials in haste to please their political bosses, highly placed sources said.

Sources said the actual worth of this land as per present collector rates is between `80-`82 crore. The out-of-way favour made by JIT to the civic body has now made the former’s financial position such that it is not able to pay the monthly installment for a loan of `273 crore that it had taken in 2011-12 from Punjab National Bank (PNB) to develop the Surya Enclave Extension on Amritsar Road.

Even as the PNB has asked the improvement trust to submit the monthly installment on time but it has shown its inability to do so, the sources informed.

What has added to the woes of the improvement trust is that it has not been able to sell plots at Surya Enclave for one year due to petitions filed by land owners against it.

There are 450 plots carved out under the scheme, of which nearly 250 have been sold.

JIT chairman Vinay Bublani, who was also holding the charge of MC commissioner when the land was sold in 2011, said it is wrong to say that two independent local bodies (MC and JIT) cannot help each other.

“I don’t exactly remember all details of the case but I am sure whatever we did was with the permission of the local bodies department,” he said. On financial crisis JIT faced, Bublani said it is a temporary phase and the improvement trust was capable to come out it.

“We have auctioned few of our properties only last week and we are set to earn a large sum to put everything on track soon. The court cases on Surya Enclave Extension will be settled in a month or two.

Thereafter, we will be able to sell our plots to earn more money,” said Bublani.

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