Five yrs on, Pun­jab govt fails to ac­quire land for ICAR’s hor­ti­cul­ture in­sti­tute

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTREGION - Sur­jit Singh sur­jit.singh@htlive.com

AMRITSAR: Five years since it was an­nounced, the Post Grad­u­ate In­sti­tute of Hor­ti­cul­ture Re­search and Ed­u­ca­tion (PGIHRE) in Amritsar is still a dis­tant dream as the state gov­ern­ment has failed to ac­quire land for the main cam­pus.

The site-se­lec­tion com­mit­tee of In­dian Coun­cil of Agri­cul­ture Re­search (ICAR), an agency re­spon­si­ble for es­tab­lish­ing the in­sti­tute, had given the ap­proval for a chunk of land at Ch­hid­dan vil­lage on the Amritsar-At­tari road. How­ever, the Pun­jab gov­ern­ment has not pur­chased the land till date. On be­half of the state gov­ern­ment, the Amritsar district ad­min­is­tra­tion had de­puted the Ajnala SDM to ac­quire the land.

Au­thor­i­ties are still ne­go­ti­at­ing the rate with owner of around 30 acres of se­lected land. “The owner de­mands around ₹90 lakh per acre, which is too high. So, we have sent a re­port of our ne­go­ti­a­tions with the owner to higher au­thor­i­ties for tak­ing a de­ci­sion,” Ajnala SDM Deepak Bhatia said.

Mean­while, land owner Par­gat Singh said, “Of­fi­cials of state and Cen­tral gov­ern­ments are mak­ing rounds for the last two-three years. I don’t want to sell my land as a por­tion has al­ready been pur­chased by the BSF for res­i­den­tial

PRO­JECT WAS BE­ING SEEN AS CRU­CIAL FOR CROP DIVER­SI­FI­CA­TION AND UP­LIFT­ING STA­TUS OF PUN­JAB’S BORDER FARM­ERS

flats. I am a farmer and want to keep the rest for my­self.”

“I have sug­gested an al­ter­na­tive land which is si­t­u­ated at Gharinda vil­lage and land own­ers are in­ter­ested. The gov­ern­ment will get land there at ne­go­tiable price,” he said.

Amritsar Vikas Manch, an NGO, said, “Since 2015, the year in which the in­sti­tute was cleared by the then cen­tral fi­nance min­is­ter late Arun Jait­ley, the ef­fi­ciency of the state gov­ern­ment is not sat­is­fac­tory, as the Pun­jab gov­ern­ment could not pro­vide land to ICAR.”

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