HPCA's 'Pavilion' again on sticky wicket
With the Himachal Pradesh government filing a chargesheet against two IAS officials in land allotment to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), the sports body's high-end residential complex - “The Pavilion” - that has a legacy of controversies - has again come into limelight.
The controversy erupted on this five-star residential complex right after the then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government decided to allot 90 kanals of common village use land to HPCA in Kand village near Dharamsala in 2009.
The allegation was levelled against the BJP government of bending the rules to favour HPAC headed by Anurag Thakur, parliamentary son of the then chief minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal.
It was alleged that the common village land had been allotted and its land use was changed for a commercial purpose that too without the consent of the cabinet.
The government allegedly allotted the land to the HPCA for a minimally priced lease of Rs 13, 40,454, that too within a few days of the request by the HPCA.
The HPCA allegedly started the construction work of the hotel before obtaining necessary clearances while hundreds of trees were felled overnight.
The town and country planning (TCP) department had slapped a notice on the HPCA in February 2010 for the resort and asked it to demolish the structure. But the state government went ahead and gave clearances to the project.
The association had maintained that due to non-availability of a five-star hotel in the vicinity of the HPCA stadium, it was developing the residential complex for visiting players with expertise and material from New Zealand and it would not be used for commercial purposes.
But after some time, HPCA approached the government, through the Kangra deputy commissioner, seeking permission to run the property on commercial basis on non-match days to maintain the property at optimum level.
Before 2012 India domestic league season, another controversy erupted after it was revealed that the complex had no proper water connection and a connection supply to residential complex was provided through a one-inch pipe from nearby villages.
Questions were also raised over the state government's decision to sanction Rs 3 crore for developing Dharamsala town before the IPL matches and free security cover to the matches held in the BJP government's regime.