JP Associate’s Bghari grinding plant generates heat in Himachal Vidhan Sabha

Shimla: The Himachal Vidhan Sabha witnessed heated exchanges over a large cement grinding unit coming up at Bghari in Solan district for which the government had not even approved leasing out the land used till last month.

Talking to the media chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said that the government had ordered an inquiry to fix accountability for the lapses and delays in executing the lease deed for the cement grinding unit and action would be taken against officers found responsible for it.

Earlier, intervening in the budget debate, industry minister Kishan Kapoor chose to rebut opposition member Mukesh Agnihotri’s argument about the government having taken a soft stance when deciding about approving a lease proposal for 325 bigha’s of land on which JP Associates has established a cement grinding unit at Bghari in Nalagarh.

Giving the details’ he said that the Himachal government entered into an Memorandum of Agreement with JP Associates for setting up large cement plant at Baga-Bhalag in Arki tehsil on 9th July, 2004. The company applied for land at Bghari on sale or lease basis on 22 August, 2004.

The states single window authority cleared JP Associates proposal for a Rs 670 crore cement plant at Malokhar Village in Bilaspur district and a Rs 90 crore grinding unit at Bghari on 26th August, 2004. Later on 17th November, 2004, the cement plant site was permitted to be shifted to village Bagha in Solan district.

A site appraisal committee approved the proposed sites on 27th May, 2005 and as the Bghair land was classified as forest land, central government ministry of forest and environment gave an its clearance for land use change on 8th September, 2005.

Before that an amount of Rs 1,83,83,000 was paid up as net land value and Rs 30,80,827 was deposited on account of compensatory forestation on 4th August, 2005. Later on 3rd October, 2005 an amount of Rs 42,84,086 was paid on account of cost of trees, Kapoor disclosed.

The industry department sought a land transfer from the revenue department on 18th October, 2005 but before the land transfer was completed, the company started constructed on the site. The land was only transferred on 29th November, 2008 after there had been a change of government in December 2007.

Just when the grinding unit was nearing completion, a penalty of Rs 1,32,03,242 was deposited with Baddi, Barotiwala, Nalagarh Development Authority in compliance with HP Town and Country Planning Act – 1977.

The company’s request for execution of a lease deed in order to start trial run of the plant was approved by the commissioner industries on 7th December, 2009 and finally the proposal to lease out the land was taken by the government on 27th February, 2010. A rate of Rs 5,58,189/- per bigha for leasing out 325 bighas and 16 biswa of land was approved and the government also chose to levy occupational charges of Rs 4.10 crore on the company for unauthorized occupation of land, said the industry minister.

Laying the blame at the door of congress first approved the cement plant, then allowed its construction between October 2005 to December 2007 after turning a blind eye towards leasing out the land to the company, the minister said that the present government had realized over Rs 23 crore’s from the company, which the congress government had handed out for Rs 2.57 crores’s only.

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