Saturday, August 6, 2011

Market rate was Rs60L/acre, but Rajiv Gandhi trust got it for Rs3L

CHANDIGARH: The land lease for Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust in Gurgaon was "awarded" by the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government just about a month ahead of the Haryana Assembly polls in October 2009, which saw Hooda return as chief minister.

TOI has learnt that while the Haryana cabinet had given the 5-acre land in Ullahwas village on lease to the trust for just Rs 1,000 an acre annually on August 21, 2009, the trust had written back saying it did not want any concession and was willing to pay the market rate. The government then fixed the lease amount at Rs 3 lakh an acre annually.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are trustees of the trust.

Sources said the Gurgaon administration, while sending the case for approval of the state government, had informed it that the land was going at Rs 60 lakh per acre, which was the "collector rate." This is the rate at which the land could have been sold.

Besides giving the land on lease, the council of ministers also decided that 5% of the beds in the hospital that was planned on the land would be reserved for patients recommended by the state government at concessional rates.

On November 19, 2009, Manoj Muttu, managing trustee of the trust, made a request to the sarpanch of the gram panchayat, saying they did not want any concession.

In the communication, Muttu had also requested that the clause in the state government order -- which had fixed the lease at Rs 1,000 per acre annually -- be amended.

After getting a proposal from the panchayat and the deputy commissioner, the state cabinet on February 4, 2010 decided that the gram panchayat would get the lease amount of Rs 15 lakh annually for the 5-acre land. The amount will be increased by 5% every five years, the cabinet decided.

Confirming that the state government had initially given the land to the trust at Rs 1,000 per acre, a senior officer in the chief minister's office said the cabinet had approved the proposal of the village panchayat. Sources said the Ullahwas panchayat on July 20, 2009 passed a resolution for leasing its land to the trust for setting up an eye hospital on terms and conditions decided by the state government.

The panchayat had given the approval on the condition that poor families would get free medical facilities and that villagers would be given preference in appointment as class four employees. It was also decided that the lease money will be as per the collector rate. The government had accepted these general conditions.


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