A Jusco project that has been stalled at Bistupur in Jamshedpur. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Jamshedpur/Ranchi, Oct. 5: As many as eight entities, including a Tata Steel subsidiary and XLRI, have moved Jharkhand High Court, challenging a state government notification to stop all construction work on sub-leased plots in Jamshedpur.
Jusco, a civic service provider which is a subsidiary of the steel major, and the others have argued that stopping construction, that includes work on a mall, hotels, a multi-layered parking lot and housing projects, would hamper the growth of the city.
In the notification issued on September 18, chief minister Arjun Munda ordered stopping of all construction work on 482 acre surplus land sub-leased by the Tatas to private parties, based on the findings of an inquiry committee headed by development commissioner Debashish Gupta.
The committee noted that the sub-leasing deals — to 59 companies in all — signed between 2005 and 2007 led to a paltry revenue of Rs 11.59 crore.
The government notification said the “physical structure of the land” should not be changed and all sub-leased plots would have to be photographed and recorded on video to ensure construction work wasn’t allowed to commence.
Based on the government’s orders, East Singhbhum district administration served notices to lease holder Tata Steel on September 21, asking it to stop construction work at all 59 sub-leased plots and maintain status quo.
Counsel for Jusco and XLRI Inderjit Sinha said the two entities filed their writ petitions yesterday. Five other institutions and an individual, whose projects had been stalled, filed petitions today.
“XLRI filed two petitions as construction work is going on in two separate plots of land while Jusco and others have filed single petitions,” said Sinha.
Those who filed petitions today were Premium Residency, Hi-Tech Heritage (both housing projects), Super Centre (marketing complex), Fortune Hotel Centre Point (hotel on Marine Drive), Ashiana Housing and Finance India Limited (shopping mall and hotel) and Anil Chopra ( a banquet hall).
In their petitions, Jusco and XLRI contended that it was not right for the government to base its decision to stop work on a single report of the development commissioner.
“Both XLRI and Jusco lodged their protest against the government order as it would hamper development activities. The land had been allocated more than seven years ago and a huge amount of construction work has been undertaken by both. Such order for stopping construction work and reviewing the entire process of sub-lease is unjustified,” Sinha said.
Another lawyer representing one of the companies said the decision of the government was without foresight and would lead to largescale unemployment. “The construction work going on in the sub-leased plots provided employment opportunities to thousands of daily wagers who have been left stranded with the government order,” he said.
The B-school was constructing hostels and classrooms for a management centre, a part of its expansion plans, on a 10-acre-plot near Marine Drive. Jusco on the other hand was constructing a multi-crore shopping mall on Bistupur-Adityapur Road.
While Jusco refused to comment, XLRI director’s spokesperson Roshan Dastur said the institution’s expansion plans had been hit. “The construction work on our projects was stopped following the directives from the local administration . This would adversely affect our expansion plans,” she said.
East Singhbhum district administration today sent a detailed report on Tata Steel’s land holdings in Jamshedpur to Assembly Speaker C.P. Singh.
The report, sent by a special emissary this evening, pertained to seven points raised by the Speaker during a review meeting on the sub-leased plots in Ranchi on Wednesday.
Among the details sought by Singh were tender processes adopted while awarding sub-leases, details of total land leased, violations, if any, in terms of classification of land in agreements signed during 1984-85 and awarding of plots in 2005.
Additional deputy commissioner East Singhbhum Ganesh Kumar said the report to the Speaker was an updated version of the one sent to the principal secretary in the land reform and revenue department last month.
“We added some minute details to that report based on the Speaker’s requirements,” he told The Telegraph.