Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Improvement Trust acquires Fazilka philanthropist’s land

Our Correspondent
Fazilka, March 25

Lala Munshi Ram Aggarwal Charitable Trust, Fazilka, a registered body set up in 1937 by the philanthropist Munshi Ram Aggarwal Lakhpati, with the objective of promoting education has been caught unawares by the move of the Improvement Trust, Fazilka, to acquire its 16 acres of land without any notice.

The Trust had set up MR College in 1940 in the memory of its founder Seth Munshi Ram Aggarwal. The college, which was a pioneer educational institute, catered to the educational needs of a large area for several decades. The college was taken over by Punjab Government in 1980 and was rechristened as MR Government College.

Since then, the Trust has been serving the humanity. As its founder had donated his entire land to the Trust for the furtherance of welfare scheme, it continues to own 16.3 acres of land on Freedom Fighter Road. The land is now considered prime commercial property, evaluated at over Rs 35 crores. The Improvement Trust notified advertisements in leading newspapers three days back seeking objections on acquiring 16.3 acres of land.

"The trustees have never resolved to transfer the land to the Improvement Trust for commercial benefits. We are surprised to see the advertisement for the acquisition of land in the newspapers," said Girdhari Lal Aggarwal, secretary, Munshi Ram Aggarwal Charitable Trust.

The residents are also perturbed over the proposal of the Improvement Trust to acquire the prime land for carving out a residential and commercial colony.

One of the oldest structures of the town, Raghuvar Bhawan, awaiting heritage status because of its glorious past, is also located on this piece of land.

"A university building should have been come up on this land to fulfill the dream of its founder. Instead, it is being exploited for monetary benefits," said Navdeep Asija, general secretary, Graduate Welfare Association, Fazilka. Asija said if the proposal is not dropped, he would launch an agitation and would knock the door of the court if the need arises.

Executive Officer, Improvement Trust, Fazilka, Jawahar Lal Aggarwal, while justifying the proposal, said under section 36 of Improvement Trust Act, the land of a Trust can also be acquired.

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