Acquisition of land from farmers, tribals, shopkeepers and residents and others for industry and infrastructure projects has become a hot-button issue all over the country.
Mediapersons, it seems, are not immune.
The high-profile National Media Cooperative (NMC) housing society in Gurgaon—home to 190 of the capital’s boldfaced names in imprintlines—has landed bang in the centre of a storm.
M.J. Akbar‘s weekly Sunday Guardian newspaper reports that the management of the residents’ welfare association (RWA) of the NMC media co-op society has surrendered two acres of land, reportedly worth around Rs 200 crore, to the Haryana urban development authority (HUDA) without following proper procedure.
HUDA has, in turn, transferred the land to a consortium led by the controversial developer DLF, which is behind the Rapid Metro Rail Gurgaon (RMG) that will run through the satellite city’s major touchpoints.
The president of the RWA, Raj Chengappa, currently editor-in-chief of The Tribune, Chandigarh, has declined comment to the paper. But another former president of the RWA, Inderjit Badhwar, has confirmed that construction of pillars for the metro line is going on in the controversial bit of land.
“At present rate, the land is worth Rs 200 crore. If the HUDA wanted the land for public purpose, it should have been acquired under the Land Acquisition Act (LAC). We should have been paid the compensation. What we don’t understand is on what ground the RWA management surrendered the piece of land, without taking all the residents into confidence,” Badhwar is quoted as saying.
Both Chengappa and Badhwar are former employees of India Today* magazine.
Badhwar says a four-member committee headed by former Tribune editor Hari Jaisingh has been formed to investigate how and why the land was transferred to HUDA.
However, an unnamed general secretary of the RWA is quoted by The Sunday Guardian as saying that the land was not surrendered but taken over by HUDA under the terms of the license given to the NMC housing society in 1993.
* Disclosures apply