Patna's P&M Mall in the Danger of being Shut Down

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Patna: In yet another example of bureaucracy gone wild in Bihar, the state government on Wednesday cancelled the lease of Patna's only true mall – the P&M Mall developed by noted film-maker Prakash Jha – throwing the livelihoods of more than 5,000 employees of the posh shopping complex in danger.

The mall was developed by Jha when he reached an agreement with Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (BIADA) following the formation of the pragmatic NDA government in Bihar in 2006. It has since become the most popular area for both young and old to spend their money, grab a bite from a choice of many, and enjoy shopping or watch a movie in an air-conditioned environment.

Film-maker and entrepreneur Prakash Jha (file photo).Film-maker and entrepreneur Prakash Jha (file photo).As reported, the mall's lease was cancelled after it failed to pay the lease fee totaling more than Rs. 2.5 crore.

Mall General Manager V. Mishra, accusing the BIADA of resorting to arm-twisting tactics, said that it raised the lease fee by several fold without proper agreement or discussion.

"We have paid Rs. 40 lakh as per the assessment of the use of land but BIADA came up with a much higher number that are not only untenable but also unreasonable," he said adding if the government insisted on canceling the lease, the mall association would approach the proper court for relief from this 'government-sponsored tyranny'.

Insiders believe that the Nitish government had cancelled the lease to settle political score from Jha after the latter, once a close friend of Nitish Kumar, fell out of the Chief Minister's grace following the disintegration of the NDA government in Bihar and the formation of a new Nitish government in association with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress.

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