Promoters who were working on Tata Steel sub-leased plots till a state order brought the projects to a grinding halt are keeping their fingers crossed, expecting Jharkhand High Court to offer some relief during Thursday’s hearing.
As many as eight entities, including Tata Steel subsidiary Jusco and XLRI, had moved Jharkhand High Court last October, challenging a state government notification to stop all construction work on sub-leased plots in Jamshedpur. Seven hearings have taken place since then and now the promoters, who are incurring heavy losses as work has remained stalled for months, are pinning hopes on the eighth one so that they can resume construction soon.
A contractor, who is building a multi-layer automatic parking lot on one such plot behind Voltas Building in Bistupur, now regrets his decision to start the project. “I had thought of gifting more amenities to this cosmopolitan city, but now I am paying a heavy price for my dream project, which has remained stuck for the past five months,” said the promoter.
He added that two months after the project was stopped midway, he received a consignment of car lifts from Korea. “I paid Rs 2.5 crore, hoping that construction would resume sooner or later. But the car lifts are gathering dust at the under-construction parking lot. Had we been allowed to carry on, the parking lot would have been almost ready by now,” the promoter said.
Another promoter pointed out that most of them had taken hefty loans from banks and also booking advances from parties. “Though no work is going on, we are coughing up interests against the loan amounts besides having to manage the parties,” he said.
According to a rough estimate, the promoters have suffered losses of over Rs 100 crore till now.
Other affected projects include a Rs 300-crore mall in South Park’s Outer Circle Road in Bistupur; another adjoining Rs 450-crore mall; two shopping complexes-cum-malls on Marine Drive in Sonari; parking-cum-shopping complex at Sakchi near Basant Cinema; and multi-crore hotel project in Golmuri. This apart, an extension of XLRI and a hotel in Bistupur were also stalled midway.
A whopping sum of over Rs 1,500 crore was supposed to be spent in all these projects that would have changed the face of the steel city, which is in dire need of a good multiplex and a mall.
Labourers engaged in the projects are also paying a heavy price as the owners of under-construction malls and other business establishments dismissed the contract firms they had been working for.
Additional deputy commissioner, East Singhbhum, Ganesh Prasad, who is monitoring progress of the case in high court, said Thursday’s hearing might bail out the companies. “The high court will hold a hearing on the counter-affidavit filed by advocate-general during an earlier hearing on January 15. Things may get clear to some extent,” Prasad told The Telegraph.
In the notification issued by the state on September 18, then chief minister Arjun Munda had 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.