JAMMU: The adage having a cake and eating it too fits well with a Minister of State who played smart while disposing off a controversial case with regard to allotment of 57 Kanals of land at the prime Samba Industrial Growth Centre, allegedly for a price.
A cursory look at the noting on a file will exonerate the Minister of any wrong-doing but the stoic silence maintained during the past five months speaks volumes about the motives. The criminal negligence or deliberate inaction on the part of the Minister has cost the State dearly and deprived dozens of entrepreneurs of their right to have space for setting up of their units.
In a brazen act of manipulation, allegedly for a whopping consideration, Managing Director, State Industrial Development Corporation (SIDCO) has restored 57 Kanals of land to M/S V K Sood Engineers and Contractors and simultaneously allotted to M/S C. S Buildwell Pvt Limited under an agreed arrangement between the two parties. To this extent, there seems to be no infirmity in the order issued under No SIDCO/ROJ/2014/19 dated 30th May 2014. However, on perusal of the file, STATE TIMES got to know that the Minister of State had not approved the allotment of 57 Kanals of land in favour of the new allottee at all though he had okayed the proposal to the extent of restoring the plot to original allottee after its cancellation on 9th February 2013.
Sources told STATE TIMES that the Minister had consciously approved the restoration of the plot to original allottee but remained silent over its subsequent allotment for obvious reasons. The sources said that Minister did not take any action at all for further allotment of the plot without approval of the designated authority-in this case Minister of State for Industries, who is holding the portfolio independently. By doing so, he has played a double edged game; first, if at all the issue becomes controversial the blame would go to the allotting authority and if the issue remains dormant, the ‘job is done’.
Brief facts of the case are that 57 Kanals of land was allotted in 2006 to one firm V K Sood Engineers and Contractors, Chandigarh. Sood Engineers failed to raise any factory citing a reason that they did not get the orders from IRCON international limited for the fabrication of steel bridges for Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail line, so they dropped the project.
In 2013, the government cancelled the allotment to V K Sood Engineers, Chandigarh and it was decided to allot this 57 Kanals of land to over a dozen new entrepreneurs, who had applied to the SIDCO for the land for their respective units.
The SIDCO allowed the MoU between the C S Buildwell Private Ltd and V K Sood Engineers for transfer of land, even as the V K Sood Engineers had defaulted in the setting up of industry on the land given on lease to it.
The order dated 30th May, 2014 issued by the GM SIDCO reads as “Allotment/lease of 57 Kanals of land is hereby restored in favour of V K Sood Engineers and Contractors DDSJV Unit-III earlier cancelled vide order number SIDCO/ROJ/IGC/03/170/131-34 dated 9th Feb, 2013. Consequently, permission is herby granted in favour of said firm to transfer lease hold rights of 57 Kanals of land to M/S C S Buildwell Pvt Ltd. provisionally registered with DIC Samba under no 070191200754 dated 12th April 2014 to set up a unit for the activity of integrated cold chain, value addition and preservation infrastructure only.” When submitted for consideration of the Minister of State for Industries, he disposed of the file conditionally in respect of ‘restoration’ only by jotting down ‘Restoration approved’, on the note.