Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sahara land under a scanner

On June 23, 2008, the Supreme Court to some extent sealed the fate of Sahara Shehar, Sahara group's prestigious headquarter and residential complex in Lucknow. The Supreme Court stayed the High Court order and directed a status quo in the situation created after the demoloition of some major structures by the Lucknow Development Authority.

Following the Supreme Court order the LDA posted police on the site and removed a tin-shed boundary wall which the Sahara group had installed after the High Court's favourable order of June 20. The LDA also lodged an FIR against Sahara employees for erecting the tin boundary wall at the demolition site.

On June 19, 2008 at 10.30 pm the Lucknow Development Authority pressed more than 30 bull-dozers and a huge police pose to demolish a part of the Sahara Shehar in Lucknow's posh Gomti Nagar. The exercise to reclaim around 1.50 lakh sq. feet of land on which the Sahara group had built a huge state-of-art auditorium, its guest houses and other structures continued throughout the night.
However, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court passed an order on June 20 restoring the land to Sahara group and also allowing rebuilding of the demolished structures. Against this the UP government moved the Supreme court which will hear the case on Monday.
This is not the first time that the Sahara Shehar, constructed on 270 acres of prime land in the state capital, has come under the scanner. The property is located on land which was demarcated in the master plan as green belt and public parks. The state government headed by Kalyan Singh in 1997 had prepared a plan to demolish the structures within Sahara Shehar. Against this Sahara had filed regular suits in the civil court and had subsequently got the proceedings stayed.
Sahara Shehar is located on the land licensed and leased by the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) and LDA. The LMC had provided the land to Sahara in two parts. Firstly, 130 acres land was granted on a licence basis on October 22, 1994 during Mulayam Singh Yadav’s regime for construction of houses and commercial structures. Another 40 acres was leased out to the group for maintaining a green belt on June 23, 1995, again during Mulayam tenure. Mulayam Singh's proximity to Sahara chief Subroto Rai Sahara is well known. The LDA too had provided 100 acres of land to the group on February 22, 1995, for maintaining green cover.
However, in 1998 during Kalyan Singh’s regime, then LDA vice-chairman Prabhat Kumar had started demolition proceedings against the group by scraping the land deal between Sahara and the LDA. However, former Chief Minister Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav on February 16, 2007 took a Cabinet decision to recall the demolition orders.
According to official sources, the state government and the LDA have prepared an exhaustive case against Sahara this time.

No comments: