The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has made an offer to sell a prime piece of 8.21 acre land right in front of the Mini Secretariat on Ferozepur Road here through public auction for the third time on November 3, 2015, albeit at a slashed reserve price. The land, earlier put on the block twice in February and June 2014 at a reserve price of Rs 1.05 lakh per square yard without finding a buyer, is now being offered at Rs 84,000 per square yard.
The land, belonging to erstwhile Canal Colony, now being offered for sale as a single unit, is perhaps the biggest chunk of land proposed to be sold in the city by any government agency so far. During two earlier unsuccessful attempts to sell the land, the 8.18 acre (now 8.21 acre) piece of land was carrying a reserve price tag of Rs 415.71 crore whereas now it was being offered at a floor price of Rs 333.79 crore.
The land, which had been in the possession of the Canal and Irrigation Department, Punjab, for several decades, was transferred to PUDA last year under the Optimum Use of Vacant Government Land (OUVGL) scheme for commercial exploration.
Following two instances of unsuccessful public auction of the land during last year, the PUDA authorities had mooted a proposal to cut down the reserve price in view of the prevailing recessionary trends in the real estate sector.
However, some of the realtors asserted that there was more to it than meets the eye in the downward revision of reserve price of this particular piece of land.
“The PUDA action (in slashing the reserve price) smacked of nepotism as it was being openly alleged that a senior functionary of the government had his eyes on the land and it would be purchased by some individual or company on his behalf,” said a city-based realtor, adding that even though a large number of commercial properties, including SCO/SCF and institutional sites, were lying unsold in various parts of the city, no proposal had been made to reduce their reserve price.
The reduction in the reserve price of the land by more than 20 per cent showed that someone “high and mighty” with vested interest was pulling the strings in this deal, said another property developer.
The article is originally published at Tribuneindia here.