Allotting panchayat land for golf course illegal: Congress

Chandigarh, May 19 (IANS) The Congress has termed as ‘illegal’ and ‘unconstitutional’ the Punjab government’s decision to persuade village panchayats to allot land in their area on lease to a private company to set up a golf course.

According to a report of the state-empowered committee on mega projects — a meeting of which was held in February but the report made public only a few days back, the state government will act as a facilitator in persuading the village panchayats to allot this prime real estate on a 33-year lease to developer DLF.

Currently, the land, adjacent to the capital city Chandigarh, is being used by the irrigation department for flood-control measures.

The DLF has proposed to build a new golf course and a water park on this land as part of one of their mega projects in the Mohali-Mullanpur area. The land, measuring over 230 acres, falls under 11 village panchayats.

‘This agreement is totally illegal, unconstitutional and a clear violation of the Punjab Village Common Land (Regulations) Rules of 1964. The government is favouring a private construction company by going out of the way,’ Punjab Congress spokesperson and legislator Sukhpal Khaira said here Wednesday.

‘The golf course and the water park will help the builder sell its residential and industrial projects in the area,’ he added.

However, DLF officials have maintained that the golf course would not be a commercial entity.

‘It would be part of a larger green belt and would be opened for public,’ said a DLF official.

Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu said: ‘We are not satisfied with this deal as it was done in a corrupt manner behind closed doors. The fact that the minutes of a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal were kept under wraps for over two months make us feel more suspicious.’

‘If they don’t scrap this deal immediately, we will initiate legal proceedings and approach the court,’ Bittu said.

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