IAS panel continues to sit on Emaar, Reliance 100-storey tower report

Sources said the TS government planned to initiate the process to take back 200 acres lying unused, out of the allotted 535 acres

HYDERABAD: A committee of IAS officers that was constituted in July 2015 has failed to suggest a way out for the state government from the controversial Emaar Properties and Reliance ADAG's 100-storey towers. Consequently, valuable government land parcels have been stuck in these projects for years.

Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao had constituted the panel in July 2015, under then Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma, to find ‘a legal way out and recommend a course of action to be taken by the government’ on these projects.

The five-member committee included the special chief secretaries for finance and municipal administration, and secretaries for law and industries. After his retirement as CS in December 2016, Rajiv Sharma was appointed as chief adviser to the state government, a post that he continues to hold.

Although there were four new chief secretaries in the intervening years, the committee never met to find a way out of the projects. Official sources said that the committee exists only on paper.

While the 535-acre Emaar project was conceived by the TD government in 2003, the controversial dilution of APIIC’s stake in the project happened during the YSR government in 2005. With this, the project got mired in a legal dispute in 2010, when the CBI started a probe into the irregularities in the sale of villa plots to some influential persons at throwaway prices.

About 100 film personalities, politicians and celebrities from other fields were questioned by the CBI over the purchase of 135 villas that were sold at Rs 5,000 per square yard, when the market rate was nearly Rs 60,000, causing a huge loss to the government.

Sources said the TS government planned to initiate the process to take back 200 acres lying unused, out of the allotted 535 acres. Apartments came up over 14 acres and they remain incomplete, causing a loss of around Rs 300 crore to buyers. Villa plots were sold over an area of 100 acres.

In 2007, the YSR government allotted 76.2 acres in Manchirevula to Reliance ADAG to build a 100-storey tower to develop a Financial District with world-class infrastructure to house big national and international financial institutions. The company had agreed to pay Rs 517 crore for the land but paid only Rs 250 crore. The project is yet to take off even after 15 years.

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