HC tells govt to use NGEF land for public infrastructure projects

HC tells govt to use NGEF land for public infrastructure projects

The High Court of Karnataka, which recently allowed the state government to use the New Government Electric Factory (NGEF) land located on Old Madras Road for public infrastructure, has also directed it to seek the court’s approval before taking up any project on NGEF land.

While allowing the state government’s plea to recall the winding-up order of NGEF, Justice Vineet Kothari said, “Each of the projects proposed by the state government for development of infrastructure or public projects in larger public interest will be separately placed before the court and without the specific approval of the court, the land will not be utilised by the government.”

The judge passed the order on a plea filed in 2015 to recall the winding-up order and to use 119.665 acres of NGEF land for public infrastructure purpose.  The winding-up order was issued by the high court in August 2004 after the Board for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) recommended liquidation to revive the company.

Justice Kothari, in his order, directed the state government to undertake thick afforestation and tree plantation work to maintain the ecological balance that would provide additional lung capacity and fresh air to the otherwise dying garden city of Bengaluru. He also sought details of the number of existing trees, types of trees, photographs of the area and plans to undertake the plantation work in a phased manner.

The judge directed the state government to submit a quarterly report on the implementation and progress of the utilisation of land and other assets of the company for public use. He said that if the state government goes back on its words and does not use the land for public purpose, the court will recall or modify the order.

He directed the appointment of a “nodal officer” of the level of a Principal Secretary to the government who will submit a quarterly report and will also assist the court. The judge directed placing the first quarterly report in September 2017.

The court also directed the official liquidator to take steps to hand over the assets and records of the company with the status report as soon as he is informed about the constitution of the board of directors by the state government approved by the high court.

The high court passed these directions on June 22 asking the government to publish the court order in Kannada, English and Hindi dailies within one month.

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