Photo Source: Babushahi Bureau
Mohali industrialists allege Punjab Infotech discrimination
Demand vigilance probe
Want controversial unearned 50% clause scrapped
Chandigarh, February 2, 2023: Confusion created by Punjab Information & Communication Technology Corporation Ltd. (PICTCL), also called Punjab Infotech, in the name of 50% unearned clause has left small allottees in Mohali Industrial Area, Phase 8, high and dry.
Senior members of Mohali Industries Association (MIA) and victims of the regressive ‘policy clause’ held a press conference at Chandigarh Press Club demanding the scrapping of the 50% clause and a thorough probe into the discrimination. Under the clause, in case of a sale or transfer of a plot leased out by PICTCL, 50 percent of the unearned increase of the plot, has to be paid to PICTCL by the original allottee.
Anurag Aggarwal, President, Mohali Industries Association (MIA) said, “PSIEC has abolished the 50% clause as per the 1992 policy, but Punjab Infotech continues to use it. Two different policies being followed in the same department of Industries and Commerce is surprising. MIA stands with victimized members in their demand to scrap this 50% clause."
As per legal opinion dated 11/12/2018 by Munisha Gandhi (Sr. Advocate) the 1992 policy itself has done away with the clause of 50% unearned increase: “Each of these cases would be governed by their respective lease deeds. However, if challenged in a Court of Law, it would be hard for the querist to justify the demand as it cannot invoke and implement the same whimsically, i.e. invoke in some cases and not invoke in others, besides being discriminatory as the 1992 policy itself has done away with the clause.”
The then AG Punjab had also opined in 2019 that “seeking recovery of unearned increase from transferees may be viewed as arbitrary as PICTCL would be treating equals unequally.”
MIA member Randeep Singh said that “As per the lease deed, 50% unearned clause is to be charged from the original allottee only but in many cases it has been carried forward to the second buyer without any policy and any BoD (Board of Directors) decision."
Dilpreet Singh, General Secretary said, "From the records available, out of 144 plots, 114 plots contain the 50% unearned increase clause, out of which 57 plots have been transferred without invoking the clause and the said clause has been invoked in two cases only. This seems to be very discriminatory."
Harbans Saini, MIA member said, “We demand a vigilance inquiry as to why the unearned clause was invoked in just two cases and revoked in 57.” He also alleged that to hide the facts, Punjab Infotech doesn’t supply relevant information under RTI too, by saying ‘record not maintained’.
It is important to mention here that Department of Industries and Commerce, Punjab had issued a Memo no 9/217/2015-AS4/1615-1619 dated 15.12.15 to follow uniform rules and policies of PSIEC across all Boards and Corporations for plot allotment / N.O.C.s etc. In the Memo referred above, it is very clear that the Memo is to be implemented in Letter and Spirit. But still Pb Infotech policy is being followed which is discriminatory as the uniform policy is yet to be notified.
Jarnail Singh Pannu a super senior citizen - an 81 years old member of MIA became a victim of the clause when he came to know about it while selling his plot. He is tense as the unearned profit calculated by Punjab Infotech is three times more than the current collector rate. Pannu said, "It is unfair for Punjab Infotech to demand such huge amounts on transfer of plot."
Surinder Singh, MIA member said, “A fair investigation is also needed as Industrialists feel that in a bid to cover up this discrimination, Punjab Infotech issued a notification dated 20/8/2019 signed by the then Addl. Chief Secretary, that decided to continue with the clause for the remaining plots by ignoring legal opinions of a Sr. Advocate and the then A.G. Punjab."
Pertinent to mention that this 50% unearned increase clause exists only in ELTOP Mohali by Punjab Infotech and in no other industrial estate / focal point in Punjab.
"We have emailed a memorandum to the Hon’ble Chief Minister Punjab S. Bhagwant S. Mann and request the fourth pillar of democracy 'the Press' to become the voice of the MSME entrepreneurs of ELTOP Phase VIII Mohali and remove the 50% unearned increase clause," said Sh. K.S.Mahal, Former President.
Once the State Government decides to revoke the said clause the MSME units will revive. It will also bring investment to the now neglected area located in the heart of Industrial Area Phase VIII Mohali. This will bring business as well as employment to the State.