Congress party condemns the SAD-BJP Govt. to sell prime properties of state
Sukhpal Singh Khaira
Congress party condemns the SAD-BJP Govt. to sell prime properties of state under the optimum utilization of vacant government Lands (OUVGL). The Govt. is planning to sell 33 prime properties across the state comprising 325 acres with an approx. cost of more than Rs. 4000 crores.
The OUVGL scheme is a brainchild of the previous Badal Govt. of 1997-2002, the congress Govt. headed by Capt. Amrinder Singh refrained from selling state owned properties. These prime properties include jails, rest houses, tehsil complexes, hospitals, old govt. houses besides vacant lands.
Congress apprehends that the SAD-BJP Govt. is likely to misuse this scheme and under its garb, prime properties are likely to be given at throw away prices, to their near and dear as has happened in the Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) case. The Badal Govt. has given on 99 years lease 56 prime acres of land alongwith a full-fledged building of PIMS with a market value of Rs. 2000 crores to Sh. Rakhra at a meager price of Rs. 131 crores, one of the biggest property scam of the govt.
The Congress party is of the opinion that we cannot fritter away govt. properties which are likely to be utilized by our future generations for growth and expansion of our state. The congress also feels that the people of Punjab have not given their mandate to SAD-BJP govt. to sell off public properties as this agenda was not part of the present govt.’s manifesto.
Even going by the simple logic, a tenant cannot sell property of its landlord, similarly the state govts are elected for a period of 5 years whereas these properties belong to the landlord or the people of Punjab and to the state exchequer. No govt. elected for a short period of 5 years can sell off properties which are an asset of the state.
Selling of these properties to generate revenue for the state for a short term gain would amount to cheating and embezzlement with the state. Only yesterday the Punjab Govt. raised Rs. 800 crores through auction of its state development loans to meet its revenue deficit.
Therefore, congress warns the SAD-BJP Govt. not to indulge in sale of prime govt. properties to wriggle out of the present fiscal mess, instead it should reduce its revenue deficit by cutting down unnecessary and wasteful expenditure and do away with loss making public sector units. In case we sell the wealth and assets of the state our future generations would never forgive us for our short vision.