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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

6 years since foundation stone laid, project for AC bus stand fails to take off

Navrajdeep Singh  Patiala, July 24, 2014
First Published: 23:53 IST(24/7/2014) | Last Updated: 23:55 IST(24/7/2014)

With planning done, designs finalised and foundation stone laid, the project to construct the state's first ultra modern bus stand is yet another in a slew of projects which have failed to take off in the city.

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Initiated nine years ago, the project is now caught in a legal battle between the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) and a New Delhi- based construction firm to which the former had given the contract for the construction of the `200 crore air-conditioned multi-storied bus stand.

Ever since the laying of the foundation stone in 2009, no progress has been made in the project.

As per the proposal initiated in 2005, in the tenure of former chief minister (CM) Captain Amarinder Singh, the bus stand at Patiala-Rajpura road was to be shifted to a spot one km away.

Ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha election, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal laid a foundation stone at the project site on February 18, 2009, amid much fanfare and declared the project as the 'first AC bus stand in the region' and the first phase was to supposed to be completed within 17 months, which never happened.

The project, which was planned to ease out traffic congestion in the city and provide better facilities for passengers and PSRTC employees, was to be set up on a 20-acre land. The bus stand was to be on the ground floor while other floors were to let out for commercial establishments including a hotel.

The present bus stand has been battling problems of space crunch and bus drivers are forced to park the vehicles on the road for want of space.

Legal hitches
After the foundation stone was laid, the PRTC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a private construction company for the project's development, on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis in October 2009.

The company had paid an initial amount of `27 crore to the PRTC as lease amount for 20 years, following which the PRTC handed over possession of the land to the firm. The company was also to pay a yearly fee of `1.25 crore to the PRTC, with a component of 5% increase in the fee every year.

However, despite repeated notices and communiqués to the company, they failed to start the project within the period stipulated and the MoU lapsed in 2012.

Following this, PRTC authorities moved court against the firm to reclaim the land's possession. The company had also done the same to get their lease amount back. The litigation between both parties is still pending in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana.

Fact file
2005: Former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh initiated the project to ease the problem of traffic congestion.
February 2009: Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal laid the project's foundation stone ahead of the Lok Sabha election.
October 2009: The PRTC signed an MoU with a private firm for development of the project and handed over land for a lease amount of `27 crore received from the company.
2012: The MoU between both parties lapsed after the construction firm failed to start work on the project. The PRTC took the issue to court while the company also followed suit. The case is still pending the High Court of Punjab and Haryana.

 

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