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PTI gets ₹84cr govt bill for ‘flouting land lea

July 14, 2020 07:45 AM


PTI gets ₹84cr govt bill for ‘flouting land lease’

New Delhi:

Less than a month after Prasar Bharati threatened to snap ties with Press Trust of India (PTI), the government has now served a Rs 84.48 crore bill on the trustrun news agency for allegedly flouting the terms of the lease agreement on the basis of which it was allotted land for its New Delhi office.

Sources said PTI was charged with not paying rent for the ground floor offices since 1984, and for carrying out “illegal construction” on the premises.

Last month, amid widespread criticism from journalists’ organisations, the government had referred to PTI’s coverage of the border tensions with China as “detrimental to India’s national interest”, and bordering on “anti-national”. At the root of the sudden cold shoulder was PTI’s interview with the Chinese ambassador to India, and also PTI’s 16-member board’s denial, so far, of a seat at the table to India’s public broadcaster Prasar Bharati.

While there is still no word on whether the government will follow through with its threat to pull the plug on its Rs 7 crore annual subscription of PTI services — the government is PTI’s largest subscriber — the Rs 84 crore bill is in continuation of the pressure the government appears to be mounting on the premier news agency.

The notice served on PTI by the housing ministry’s land and development office (L&DO) on 7 July gave the agency a month to pay up, failing which it would be liable to pay a 10% penalty on the dues. The agency has also been granted a week, ending on Tuesday, to seek clarifications from the government

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