New Delhi, Jul 30 (PTI) Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday expressed concern over the delay in handing over possession of 8,700 square metres of land allotted to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat in 2003 at R K Puram in the national capital.

At a meeting held to review the status of the land allotment with officials of the RS Secretariat, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, Land and Development Office and legal counsel, the Chairman directed the officials concerned to initiate appropriate and urgent action to get the land cleared of encroachments.

While a total land of 8,700 sq m was allotted to Rajya Sabha Secretariat, around 4384.25 sq m of it was occupied by different organisations, including three NGOs, an official statement said. In addition, it said, unauthorised ‘jhuggis’ (slums) have come up on this land over an extent of 1193.54 sq m.

The Chairman noted that there have been inordinate delays and urged that necessary steps should be taken to resolve all outstanding issues including the pending cases in the High Court. He also noted that Rs 1.25 crores has been incurred by Rajya Sabha towards the cost of the land and relocation of jhuggis way back in 2003.

He pointed out that the Rajya Sabha TV used to pay an annual rent of Rs 30 crore earlier and it has now reduced to Rs 15 crore after he took up the issue with New Delhi Municipal Council, the statement said. Naidu observed that even Rs 15 crore was a heavy and avoidable financial burden.

Officials said the Chairman was keen that once the land is handed over, the construction of Rajya Sabha TV and residential quarters for staff of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, which is long awaited, could be taken up immediately so that there is substantial savings to the public exchequer.

At the review meeting, the Chairman asked the Secretary, Housing and Urban Affairs to undertake a comprehensive review and coordinate efforts for expeditious resolution of all issues. He also directed Rajya Sabha Secretariat to take necessary steps to resolve legal impediments, the statement added.

Source: PTI