Mahim Pratap Singh

Huge irregularities found in scheme launched by M.P. Govt.

Land was meant for journalists who do not own any property in Bhopal

Government officials, big media houses’ owners have got extremely cheap government land

BHOPAL: Huge irregularities have been discovered in the State Government’s land allotment scheme for “poor journalists” in what is alleged to be a massive land scam.

Just before last year’s State Assembly elections, the Shivraj Singh Chauhan Government had announced allocation of subsidised government land for “poor journalists” who did not own land or houses elsewhere in Bhopal.

The over 11-acre plot of government land located close to the proposed international airport is being provided at extremely subsidised “Collectorate rates”. The market rate for this land is said to be around Rs.30 crore, while the Government has provided it to cooperative societies for as low as Rs.3 crores.

However, everyone from government officials to owners of media houses appear to have joined the party and gotten extremely cheap government land allotted to them and their relatives.

The Raajdhaani Patrakaar Griha Nirmaan Sahkaari Sanstha, which is the second of three cooperatives formed, includes the names of several Class I gazetted officers of the State Government, which is a direct violation of the Cabinet decision which led to the formation of the cooperatives.

The Cabinet decision, taken at the last meeting of the Cabinet held before last year’s Assembly elections, was aimed at providing plots to journalists of the low-income category who did not own any other property in Bhopal.

Further, the list includes names of owners of several big media houses.

“This land is supposed to be allotted only to journalists belonging to the low-income group and government officials are definitely not eligible for it,” says Bhopal Collector Shiv Shekhar Shukla.

“Allotments have been made to all those who have submitted affidavits declaring that they do not own land anywhere else,” he adds.

Asked if these affidavits were verified, he said, “An affidavit is a legal document and there is no question of verification. If these affidavits turn out to be false, these people will be liable for punishment under the law.”

Official sources on condition of anonymity also said that “government officials had no business to be there” in the list which also includes relatives of government officials.