Monday, April 21, 2008

Consider NGEF land for Metro

Consider NGEF land for Metro
From Pratap Patnaik,DH News Service,New Delhi:
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre not to raise objection for acquiring the NGEF land at Byappanahalli in Bangalore City for the construction of a station of the Bangalore Metro rail.

A bench of Justices S H Kapadia and B Sudershan Reddy asked the Centre “to consider the project and not to raise any objection”.

The court asked the Centre to file its reply in six weeks explaining its position.

Karnataka government advocate Sanjay Hegde submitted that in the interest of the people of the State, the land should be given for the Metro and other projects.

The apex court had cleared the roadblock by allowing Karnataka to take over the 100-acre NGEF land for setting up of the Metro station and other projects.

The court had kept on hold the appeal of Prestige Garden Estate Ltd, a real estate company, which wanted possession of the land after being successful in a Rs 600-crore in a bid floated by official liquidator.
Senior advocate Ashok Desai appearing for Prestige Garden submitted that the company had won a bid to purchase the land in the auction by the official liquidator in December 2005 and the decision could not be reversed.

The court observed that the company could not claim to take possession of the land at the price it had quoted two years back. The State government was at the liberty to cancel the bid, as it was the rightful owner of the land.

Mr Hegde submitted that the land belonged to the State. The government had 92.8 per cent stake in NGEF, jointly set up in collaboration with EHG, a German company to manufacture electrical equipment. After the company became sick, the matter was referred to the BIFR for revival. The company has surplus assets including 85 acres of freehold land at various locations in Bangalore, a guesthouse, a tennis court, a bus parking area and an apartment in Mumbai.

Three public transport corporations — the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) — had moved the Karnataka High Court two years back seeking a direction to the official liquidator to sell or transfer 53.913 acres of land belonging to NGEF to them for the metro rail terminus, a satellite bus station and a bus depot, respectively.

The corporations suggested that the NGEF could generate Rs 107 crore by selling 53.913 acres of land to them at the market value prescribed by the state government. This amount would be sufficient to pay the Rs 68.30 crore NGEF owed to the banks.

The BMRCL requires 33 acres of land, while KSRTC and BMTC require 10 acres each.


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