In spite of the town planning department objection, the local municipal corporation plans to convert a hospital site to shops, for no public cause but to give a BJP-backed developer benefit of several crore rupees.
The amendment in the Leela Bhawan TP (town planning) Scheme will not help even the cash-strapped MC. It will favour only realtor Radhe Shayam, whose son is with the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), youth wing of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Apart from the hospital site, Radhe Shayam wants the sites of a hotel and a general department store also converted.
The land in question is almost worth Rs 1.5 lakh per square yard. The controversial agenda for amending the TP scheme is set for discussion in the house meeting on Friday. Leela Bhawan is where many shopkeepers have violated building norms already.
In 2010, the senior town planner had made a written objection. The real-estate developer was after change for eight years but no one had approved. “We have put it on the agenda on the direction of the local bodies minister,” said a leader of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, requesting anonymity.
Even during tenure of former mayor Jaspal Pradhan and former municipal commissioner Gurluvleen Singh Sidhu in 2012, the MC had issued notice to showroom owners settled under the TP scheme to submit plans and whether they had followed the rules in setting up business.
“It seems the Akalis have turned the Patiala MC into real-estate agency. The Congress won’t allow the MC to deprive the city of a hospital and a hotel given in the plan,” said Patiala (rural) Congress legislator Brahm Mohindra. He added:“I will write to the government, asking why the amendment is needed when no one from the public has demanded it?” Even the leader of the opposition in the MC, Congress councillor Sanjeev Bittu, had this view.
Asked what benefit was in the conversion, mayor Amarinder Bajaj accepted that there was none to the MC or the public. “On written requests from realtors and direction from the local bodies department, I have put the case before the house,” he claimed.