Controversial mega projects in Chandigarh worth billions of rupees under prevailing market prices are under the scanner of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). The CVC has sought all files pertaining to the mega-projects from the Chandigarh administration to investigate alleged corruption in land deals.
Using its powers as a court, the CVC has announced the setting up of a vigilance commission to probe the murky land deals worth billions of rupees. The probe will be a major embarrassment for the administration top brass as local NGOs have alleged irregularities and corruption in the land deals.
“We will comply with the orders of the CVC. All files will be sent for this probe,” a senior union territory (UT) official said.
The land deals, most of which have been concluded in the last three years, have generated much controversy with the city’s mayor and senior Congress leaders demanding that UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues, who is also the Punjab governor, give up his post as the city’s administrative head until a probe into the deals by a central agency.
At the centre of the controversy are ambitious projects like the Film-city, the Medi-city, the Amusement-cum-Theme Park and the new phase of the Information Technology (IT) Park.
The administration has not only been accused of rushing in with some of the projects but also making allotments to certain big realty companies at prices much lower than the prevailing market rates for land in the 114-square km city, which is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana but is a centrally-administered union territory.
The 73-acre Amusement-cum-Theme Park project has not got off the ground even couple of year after it was allotted to realty major Unitech as the administration failed to extend facilities on the land. Several rules were allegedly violated in giving concessions to the firm.
Some renowned companies, like Singapore’s famed Sentosa Island amusement park, were disqualified from bidding for this project.
In the Film-city project, realty major Parsvnath was allotted the 30-acre land in Sarangpur village of the union territory for Rs.191 crore. The company, which had deposited nearly Rs.480 million, is now seeking the money back with interest. It has excused itself on the ground that the land is not free from encumbrances.