Even as the city moves towards a ‘smarter’ facelift, clouds of uncertainty hover over some old and expensive projects that have been stalled due to some dispute or the other. One such project is Ludhiana City Centre that was started in 2003. The controversial project has been stalled due to a dispute over 20 acres of land. Punjab and Haryana high court has imposed status quo on the possession of this land as Ludhiana Improvement Trust did not compensate the owner when they acquired the land under the 475 Acre Scheme.
The trust started proceedings without paying the owner, who dragged them to the high court in 2016. Following this, the HC ordered status quo on the possession of this land on February 17.
The owner of the land, Arjinder Singh of Sunet village, said LIT officials misguided them for the past 37 years with regard to compensation against acquired land.
“Our land in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar which measures up to 20 acres was acquired by LIT under the 475 Acre Scheme in 1979. The trust assured us that they will compensate us,” he added.
Arjinder further said, “When we were not compensated against our land, we contacted LIT officials who told us that the money was deposited with the court and we can get it through some procedure. When we approached the court for the money, we were shocked to find out that LIT did not deposit any money. We got it on record after getting details under the Right to Information Act.”
He further added that he filed a peititon in the HC in 2016. Lawyer Nalin Kaushik also sent an online application to enquire the status of acquiring land under the 475 Acre Scheme. In its reply, LIT said there was a status quo by the HC on acquiring the land.
Deputy commissioner Pradeep Kumar Aggarwal, who had additional charge of LIT chairman, said he no longer had that charge and was unaware of the specific case. The new chairman, Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal, has not joined office yet.
What the controversy is about
Ludhiana City Centre is a project worth crores that was launched in 2003. The project will have shopping malls, multiplexes, residential apartments and a helipad. The project came into the limelight in 2007 after Punjab vigilance bureau registered an FIR against it in March 2017, just after the SAD-BJP combine came to power. The bureau accused Capt Amarinder Singh of “patronising” and “abetting” dilution in several terms and conditions under the project to favour a Delhi-based private company, Today Homes, to execute his government’s dream project. It was alleged that the company derived benefits worth Rs 1,144 crore after the Captain allowed some changes in the project. The case is still under trial.