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HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

MC may sell land on Sirhind road to reimburse loans

Navrajdeep Singh, Hindustan Times  Patiala, September 24, 2013
First Published: 22:59 IST(24/9/2013) | Last Updated: 23:00 IST(24/9/2013)

Unable to repay loan of around `9.22 crore for past several years, Patiala Municipal Corporation has resorted to its old habit of selling land. MC has planned to sell a prime land situated on Sirhind road to get rid of its huge debt.

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The civic body authorities have decided to table the proposal in general house meeting to be held on Wednesday to get nod from other members of the house to sell around eight bighas (8633 square yard) of land situated on Patiala-Sirhind road to Patiala Development Authority (PDA).

The decision of MC of selling land to reimburse loans has raised questions over creation of financial resources available with civic body in future.

Sources said, MC had failed to pay PDA's loan, raised under National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) scheme in 2006, despite repeated communiqués from PDA's authorities.

However, transferring land to PDA will not serve MC's purpose to reimburse the loan completely, as through the land, `9.22 crore only will be repaid, if it's sold, while MC will still have to pay the interests amounting to `4.5 crore.
Earlier also stung by heavy debt, civic body had sold a prime land of 7,700-square-yard, priced at `51 crore in October 2012, for just `27 crore to improvement trust in June this year to repay a loan of `25 crore.

MC had recently started encroachment drive against defaulters illegally encroaching land on Sirhind Road for past several years.

"Selling land will help MC reduce its debts,"said mayor Amarinder Bajaj.

"We will table the proposal in the general house meet and if it gets nod from other councillors, it will be sent to state government for the final call,"Bajaj said.

"It is better to sell land rather than giving another chance to defaulters to encroach on it again,"he said.

Mayor may feel heat at general house meet
With first general house meeting in past three months, beleaguered Patiala mayor Amarinder Bajaj may feel the heat from councillors for poor civic amenities across the city for past several months.

With Bajaj joining in April, the house met for only once on June 10.

Bajaj has been feeling the heat from councillors of his fellow party and opposition for his 'casual approach' towards their demands to carry out development work in their respective wards.

On Wednesday councillors may take up developmental issues of their wards before the mayor and commissioner. They may also get resolution passed from other members of the House in order to get fund for developmental work.

As per norms of Punjab Municipal Corporation Act 1976, it is mandatory for the civic authorities to conduct meeting at least once a month.

Residents expressed dissatisfaction over poor civic situations including dilapidated roads, choking of sewerage system, water logging and break down of drainage system especially after the monsoon.

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