Amritsar Central Jail to be shifted to defunct improvement trust project land

In a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal recently, the Punjab government has decided to shift Amritsar Central Jail from Amritsar International Airport road to a site located in Fatahpur and Bharariwala village where Amritsar Improvement Trust (AIT) had planned a Dairy Development Scheme nearly two decades back.

The scheme had gone defunct after there were no takers to buy land under the scheme, which was envisaged to shift dairies outside the city. Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has been entrusted with the task of constructing the new jail on an area of 67 acres.

In a recent letter to PUDA chief administrator Manvesh Singh Sidhu, the department of Home Affairs and Justice (Jails Branch), asked him to pay AIT a sum of Rs 36.10 crore to get the land transferred in its (PUDA's) name.

In the last week of January, it has been learnt, AIT passed a resolution to transfer land in question to PUDA. The resolution underlined that the amount earned through the transfer of land would be spent on new scheme only and not on doing development works.

Amritsar Jail Superintendent Amrik Singh confirmed that Amritsar Central Jail was being shifted. "It would take about a year and half to two years to shift the jail as PUDA would take time to construct the new jail," said the jail superintendent.

Sources said that during the meeting with Badal, AIT officials had "verbally" requested him to give the land of existing jail to the Trust in lieu of land being transferred by AIT, but the CM "denied the same". Sources claimed that state government stood to gain a lot from the existing land of the jail since the existing jail is located on prime location on Airport road.

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