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The Odisha High Court (HC) on Thursday declared the agreement between ARSS Infrastructure Projects Ltd, a city-based firm and Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) null and void’.
ARSS and OSRTC had entered into a pact for developing a modern, state-of-the-art bus terminal over 14.43 acres at the Baramunda locality in the city.
The High Court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in this regard in January this year.
“The division bench comprising Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice S K Mishra declared the agreement with ARSS for developing Baramunda bus stand null and void,” said Nirodh Kumar Sahu, counsel for the petitioner. The court observed that the company has no legal rights on the land, he added.
The HC ordered cancellation of the agreement under Article 299 of the Indian Constitution (agreement without Governor’s approval) and citing violation of Sections 105 and 107 of Transfer of Property Act - 1882 (definition of lease, lease procedure). The infrastructure firm had entered into a concession agreement with the OSRTC in March last year.
As per the agreement, ARSS was to develop commercial and residential complexes on the 40 per cent of the land leased for 90 years while it was supposed to build a modern bus stand on the balance 60 per cent of the land leased for 15 years.
“We will take appropriate steps only after examining the order of the HC,” said Subrat Tarai, minister of state of transport and commerce.
“The tender policy was quite transparent. We will approach the Supreme Court if the order does not suit us,” said Malaya Ranjan Patnaik, Vice President, ARSS Developers.
In another case, the HC has asked the OSRTC to return the amount taken from the Reliance Retail for leasing out land at the Badambadi locality in Cuttack for development of a commercial complex. The HC ordered the leasing of the land parcel through auction route.