Ranchi, March 7: Jharkhand High Court has allowed construction in areas sub-leased by Tata Steel in Jamshedpur, paving the way for 17 private entities to resume work on their projects that had to be abandoned after a state government notification.
But, Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh imposed certain conditions on the 17 entities that included the likes of XLRI and Jusco. The court made it clear that the entities would have to begin work at their own risk and would have to dismantle the construction if the court found that due process had not been followed while allotting the land.
Construction work in several Jamshedpur areas like Bistupur, Sakchi, Circuit House, Golmuri and Marine Drive had to be stopped after the former government of Arjun Munda issued a notification last year, acting on the findings of an inquiry committee headed by development commissioner Debashish Gupta.
The committee claimed it had found anomalies in granting sub-leases to some of the private entities and that of Tata Steel’s associate companies. The committee noted that the sub-lease agreements, with 59 companies in all, signed between 2005 and 2007 led to a paltry revenue of Rs 11.59 crore for the state exchequer.
The government notification had said that 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 did not begin surreptitiously.
Based on the government’s orders, East Singhbhum district administration had served notices on lease holder Tata Steel and sub-lessees on September 21, 2012, asking them to stop construction work at all 59 plots and maintain status quo.
Later, 18 of 59 private entities had filed a writ petition in the high court last year, challenging the notification and 17 followed it up with undertakings that they were in favour of resuming work with the court’s permission.
In an earlier hearing, the private entities argued that it would be unjust on the part of the government to stop work on the basis of a single report, thereby hamper development of a burgeoning township.
The next hearing is on April 9.
On January 28, one of the sub-lessees tried to resume work clandestinely on J Road, Bistupur, after which the East Singhbhum administration issued a directive for photographic inspection of all sub-leased plots on a weekly basis. This was carried out by Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC).