Hanging fire for 9 yrs, project to set up horticulture institute awaits land acquisition - Hindustan Times
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Hanging fire for 9 yrs, project to set up horticulture institute awaits land acquisition

By, Amritsar
Jun 23, 2024 10:09 PM IST

The project to establish Post Graduate Institute of Horticulture Research and Education in Amritsar was announced by the then Union finance minister, late Arun Jaitley, during the Centre’s 2015-16 budget session. The land acquisition process is being delayed by the state government.

Hanging fire for nine years, the Union government’s project to establish Post Graduate Institute of Horticulture Research and Education (PGIHRE) in Amritsar is turning out to be a distant dream as the Punjab government is yet to acquire land.

Amritsar deputy commissioner Ghanshyam Thori says the land selected for the institute is owned by one person. “So, queries have arisen on the selection. It is under review,” he says
Amritsar deputy commissioner Ghanshyam Thori says the land selected for the institute is owned by one person. “So, queries have arisen on the selection. It is under review,” he says

On March 20, 2023, the Punjab department of agriculture and farmer welfare issued a notification to acquire a piece of land measuring 29 acres, 5 kanals and 5 marlas for the establishment of administrative, academic and residential blocks of the institute in Chhidan village of Lopoke tehsil at the Amritsar-Attari road.

Later, the new horticulture minister issued a letter on May 22 last year to principal secretary (horticulture) to search for government/panchayat land before acquisition of private land to avoid financial burden. Then the district development and panchayat officer of Amritsar mentioned that all of the block development and panchayat officers of the district had reported that no gram panchayat had a single chunk of 30 acres for the PGIHRE. A copy of the response letters is available with the HT.

Currently, the department of horticulture seems to be not moving forward to acquire the selected land.

The PGIHRE project was announced by the then Union finance minister, late Arun Jaitley, during the Centre’s 2015-16 budget session. The then SAD-BJP-led government in Punjab had offered 100 acres of land free of cost to the Central Department of Agriculture Research and Education.

Then a site selection committee, comprising officials of Punjab and also the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, was constituted that finalised the land in Chhidan village, as per the letter issued by the ICAR’s director general.

The social impact assessment appraisal report was submitted by professors of the Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, under the chairmanship of Prof Rajesh Gill, a social scientist on June 9, 2021. This report was approved by the expert committee of the state government.

Seeking anonymity, an official privy to the matter, said status quo is prevailing in this case and the state government has not moved forward to acquire the land.

Amritsar deputy commissioner (DC) Ghanshyam Thori said, “The land selected for the institute is owned by one person. So, queries have arisen on the selection. It is under review so the process is being delayed according to my knowledge.”

When contacted, horticulture director Shailender Kaur said, “This is a project of the Union government. We have not received the detailed project report from the Centre. We can proceed further only after receiving the same.”

Meanwhile, horticulture minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra was not available over phone.

According to retired school principal Kulwant Singh Ankhi, patron of the Amritsar Vikas Manch, instructions must be issued to the authorities concerned to finalise the formalities regarding the land selection to establish the Post Graduate Institute of Horticulture Research and Education as it is expected to be a boon for the state’s farming sector.

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