Fate of City Centre project still hangs in balance - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Friday, November 29, 2019

Fate of City Centre project still hangs in balance

Fate of City Centre project still hangs in balance

Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 28

If the stakeholders feel that with the closure of the City Centre case the project may see the light of the day, they are mistaken because many more hurdles are to be crossed before the work could commence on this project, if at all.

When launched by Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) in 2005 under the then Congress regime with Capt Amarinder Singh in the saddle, the project, to be constructed over 26 acres with carpet area of some 45 lakh square feet, was touted to be the fourth largest in Asia.

City Centre was to have a mega mall with retail outlets, multiplexes and food court, a business centre with multi-storey towers for offices, a five-star hotel affiliated to an international chain and a trade centre with art gallery, museum, recreation centre food plaza and a helipad.

But as LIT chairman Raman Balasubramanium aptly pointed out that with the “scam” part of the project having been closed, litigation was far from being over for the project as the case filed by Today Homes and Infrastructure against the LIT was still pending in the Delhi High Court.

“The award given by arbitrator Justice RC Lahoti has been challenged both by the company (Today Homes) and the Trust. And then the million dollar question is who is going to pay the damages claimed by the company which had made an investment of around Rs 152 crore in the (now abandoned) project,” he said.

Balasubramanium further pointed out that the scenario of the mall culture and real estate sector had undergone a sea change in the intervening period (from 2005 till date) and a rethink on the very viability of the project was warranted. He, however, asserted that the then political dispensation (SAD-BJP) should be held accountable for causing immense loss to the city, the Trust, the people of Ludhiana and those who had made investment in the project.

Former LIT chairman Ashok Juneja has asked the government to come out with white paper on the possibility of revival of the project and about latest position of cases and appeals filed by various parties in different courts and tribunals.

He pleaded for a detailed discussion on the final award given by the Justice, who was appointed the sole arbitrator and his advice to resolve the dispute between the promoter company and the LIT and desire that the construction of City Centre be taken up which would be in the interest of all stakeholders.

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