Punjab, Haryana okay Regional Planning Board
To ensure coordinated development of city; Panchkula, Mohali, Union ministry to come up with detailed guidelines
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 14
In a significant development, Punjab and Haryana have given consent to a proposal of the Union Urban Development Ministry to constitute a committee for the Regional Planning Board for a balanced and coordinated development of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali.
The Punjab and Haryana governments gave their consent at a recent meeting with officials of the Ministry of Urban Development and at the 26th meeting of the Northern Zonal Council on Friday.
A senior official of the UT Administration said now the stake holders —Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh — would decide whether the regional planning be undertaken under legislation on the lines of the NCR Planning Board or in the form of executive orders with full commitment of participating governments.
Official said the Ministry of Urban Development would formulate the guidelines for the formation of the Regional Planning Board. Besides, the ministry would also lay down the procedure and rules about the constitution of the committee and appointment of its members. It would ensure equal participation of three stakeholders in the committee.
In a recent report submitted by the UT Administration to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the need for regional planning was highlighted and it was stated that the city was under tremendous pressure owing to manifold increase in population, traffic, stress on infrastructure, building violations, limited availability of land and haphazard growth in the periphery, affecting the sacrosanct of the master plan. In the report, the UT Administration had stated that there was a need for setting up of the Regional Planning Board for an overall development of the tricity.
The core issues likely to emerge before the committee members are water supply from Kaujali, slum rehabilitation, more road links, public transport system, sewerage, natural resource management, health, bio-medical waste management, traffic diversion projects, height of buildings in area north of Capitol Complex, preservation of the glory of the Sukhna Lake and haphazard growth in the periphery of Chandigarh.
STRUCTURE OF COMMITTEE
The committee on regional planning will have secretaries of both Punjab and Haryana and the Adviser of the UT Administrator as its members. The Union Ministry of Urban Development will prepare its model and terms of reference. The roadmap and the model will be sent to the states concerned and Chandigarh. The chairman of the joint committee will be appointed on a rotational basis.
More road links
The Haryana government has taken up the issue of more link roads from Panchkula to Chandigarh. At present, residents mostly use the road from the Sector 26 light point to the Housing Board chowk, resulting in traffic jam. The alternative link to Panchkula from Hallo Majra has been completed between NH-21 and Industrial Area, Panchkula, but it has not given the expected relief to commuters due to the existing level crossing near Mauli Jagran. The construction of a railway overbridge (ROB) over level crossings linking Chandigarh with Panchkula and Mani Majra to facilitate the free movement of traffic is yet to begin. Haryana and the UT have also been demanding direct and shorter access to the upcoming international airport terminal in Mohali.
Haphazard growth on periphery
In the absence of any check over the construction of buildings, haphazard growth has taken place on the city’s periphery. The Regional Planning Board will ensure stringent enforcement of the Punjab New Capital Periphery Control Act, 1952, to check haphazard growth. If all stakeholders cooperate, the development will take place according to the approved master plan. Apprehending high rise building near the Sukhna wildlife sanctuary, the UT has been objecting to the growth in Naya Goan and Kansal.
Public transport system
There is need to improve the public transport system in the tricity. The budget estimates released by the UT for 2012-13 state that Rs 10 crore will be used for Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS), Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) and Light Rail Systems in the city during 2012-13. Most of this amount will be utilised in the construction Metro and affordable means of transport like buses and trams. The administration has to pay Rs 2.5 crore to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) as fee for the detailed project report (DPR) for the Metro project. Punjab has also been proposing to start inter-city bus service.
Punjab has been repeatedly blaming the UT for rehabilitating slum dwellers on the city’s border with Mohali. Punjab’s Housing and Urban Development Department through its nodal agency Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has been taking up the issue with the UT. Punjab has sough solution to the issue as the slum rehabilitation project of the Chandigarh Housing Board, envisaged to shift slum dwellers to one room tenements, is running behind schedule.
The UT has been demanding additional supply of 40 million gallon of raw water per day from the Bhakra main canal, Kajauli. But Punjab has been denying it the share in the Phase 5 and Phase 6 of the Kajauli water works. On the other hand, Haryana has been demanding six MGD of water. The issue has even reached the Centre. At present, the UT Administration is drawing 80 million gallon per day (MGD) of water from the Bhakra main line at Kajauli. This is partly used at Mohali, Panchkula and Chandimandir cantonment. Chandigarh alone takes 67 MGD of water out of the 80 MGD. Another 20 MGD of water is available from tubewells in the city. Chandigarh needs another 29 MGD of water to meet its present requirement of 116 MGD of water.
GOVT ALLOTS LAND FOR CANCER HOSPITAL-Medicity Mullanpur
GOVT ALLOTS LAND FOR CANCER HOSPITAL: The Punjab Government has allotted 50 acres of land to the Department of Atomic Energy free of cost for setting up a state-of-the-art cancer hospital in Medicity, being developed by Greater Mohali Area Development Authority at Mullanpur in SAS Nagar district. A decision to this effect was at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The hospital would be set up on the lines of Mumbai's Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital.
EDUCATION DEPT KICKS OFF GREEN DRIVE: The Punjab Education Department has launched a massive "Green School" drive during which students of more than 17,000 schools would plant around 50 lakh saplings. Education Minister Sikandar Singh Maluka said the Forest Department would provide saplings of 45 varities free of cost to state schools.
Appreciating the Ludhiana metro project, the Centre has assured Punjab that it will pay its share of funds for the project under the viability gap funding arrangement. It has asked the government to submit the feasibility report.
The project was discussed at a meeting convened by the Union Urban Development Ministry in New Delhi today. Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Bihar were among the states that made a presentation on their metro projects to officials of the ministry. Principal Secretary for Local Bodies Suresh Kumar led the Punjab team at the meeting.
The Ludhiana metro project will be built under the PPP mode. The initial estimated cost of the project is Rs 10,300 crore but it could come down after competitive bidding.
The state government will contribute about Rs 2,000 crore towards the project cost. The first phase is likely to be completed by 2018.
Following the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Patiala Municipal Corporation (MC) has swung into action and initiated a drive to seal the showrooms and commercial establishments, which had come up in the residential areas in violations of the prescribed norms and without sanctioning of the building plans.
Accompanied with the police, a team of the Patiala MC today sealed as many as 14 showrooms and commercial establishments on the city’s posh road - the Upper Mall.
Despite the resistance from the owners of the commercial establishments, the MC completed the exercise to seal the commercial establishments on the Upper Mall Road. At around 9 am, the MC team started the operation and by 2 pm, 14 showrooms were sealed.
Municipal Commissioner GS Sidhu along with senior MC officers, SDM GS Chahal and police officers themselves went to the spot and the operation to seal the illegal showrooms was conducted under their supervision. Officials of the civic authorities said action against other illegal commercial establishments would also be initiated in due course to comply with the High Court orders.
One of the commercial establishments against which action has been taken by the civic body is Juneja Realtors, which is owned by relatives of recently elected Municipal Councillor from Ward Number 31 Harpal Juneja, who is one of the probable for the post of Patiala Mayor. Besides, a club, which has been sealed, was set up by a relative of former Punjab policeman.
Some of the other violators were also having political influences but the MC did not spare anyone because the High Court had issued directions to take action within 72 hours.
The establishments that have been sealed include a hospital, marble showrooms and retail outlets. What is interesting is that since some of the categories, including advocates and educational institutes, that have been exempted from sealing, the illegal showroom owners had put up boards of advocates and coaching centres in name of their family members yesterday evening to evade action but the civic body was having complete details about the violators and no one was spared.
In blatant violation of the building by-laws, illegal commercial establishments have mushroomed on the Upper Mall Road. Without bothering for getting building plan sanctioned, paying any Change of Land Use (CLU) charges and in sheer defiance of the building by-laws, several persons had constructed multi-storeyed commercial complexes on this road, leaving the area residents high and dry.
Speaking to TNS, residents of the area pointed out that the illegal buildings had come up by throwing all building norms to the wind. It was a long- pending grievance of the area residents that because of the commercial activities in the area, the residents were facing extreme difficulty on account of parking of vehicles outside their houses.
Almost one and half years ago, the Defence authorities had written to the Patiala Deputy Commissioner (DC) that allowing the commercial establishments on the Upper Mall Road from Thikriwala Chowk to YPS Chowk and Cantonment Area would be compromising with the security of vital defence establishments in Patiala. The defence authorities had apprised the then DC Dipinder Singh that road from Thikriwala Chowk to YPS Chowk and Cantonment Area was vital from defence point of view, as it provides route to vital defence establishments.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has slapped a penalty of Rs 1 lakh on Faridkot SDM Bhupinder Singh for misleading the court, violating the Land Acquisition Act and failing to discharge his statutory duties.
The High Court has also directed the Chief Secretary, Punjab, to conduct an inquiry into the matter and submit a report within six months.
While setting aside acquisition of 103.4 acres of land in Faridkot by the Punjab Government in September 2009 for setting up a flying training academy, the court said the SDM, who was the land acquisition collector, published and announced the acquisition without considering objections filed by the trustee of the land.
Maharawal Khewaji Religious and Charitable Trust, a caretaking body of the land, had challenged the land acquisition in the court. In its petition filed before the High Court, the Trust had accused the SDM of not hearing its objections. The state counsel made a statement in the HC on January 21, 2011, that no objection was filed by the Trust. When the Trust claimed that the objections were handed over to an assistant of the SDM, the state counsel, in a volte-face, on February 15, 2011, said the objections were filed, but these were incomplete and returned to the Trust.
Displeased with the changing stance of the counsel, the HC summoned the SDM, telling him to bring the original record. On March 1, 2011, the original record was produced in the court and it was found that the objections were filed, but the SDM returned these for “being incomplete”.
In its decision on July 17, the HC had said: “The returning of objections filed by the Trust in such a manner is wholly illegal, defeats the purpose of filing the objections and abuse of power of eminent domain conferred on the state government under provisions of the Land Acquisition Act.
“It amounts to abdication of authority by the land acquisition collector”.
Reacting to the HC orders, Bhupinder Singh said he would comment on the matter only after getting a copy of the orders. “I did my job as a government servant for acquisition of the land,” he added.
While unapproved colonisers are not coming forward to get their colonies approved, the approved colonisers are acting as defaulters and are not paying the development charges to Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) after getting the approval letter. This came into light after Rahul Tiwari, who is the DC-cum-GLADA chief administrator (CA), held a meeting of the staff this afternoon.
Tiwari said that more than 95 colonisers are defaulters in the GLADA list against whom Rs 15 crore is outstanding. “We have warned them to deposit the remaining amount or they will be barred from selling the rest of their land,” he added.
Tiwari elaborated, “Normally, the colonisers pay the initial fee for getting the approval letter from GLADA and once the colony is declared approved, the further installments become irregular. So today I took stock of the defaulters and found that the list is huge.”
However, the DC clarified that the investors who have already invested in such colonies need not worry. The ban is on sale of further land and not on the land which has already been sold out.
Apart from this, he asked unauthorised colonisers as well to apply for authorisation if they want to save action from Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority ‘s side.
Meanwhile, Baldev Singh has joined as the new GLADA additional commissioner administrator (ACA). The CA has asked Baldev Singh to be present at GLADA in the morning hours and sit at the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT)office during after-lunch hours, so as to get the work in both departments moving.
It needs to be mentioned that few days ago, the DC was given charge of administrator of the Trust as well and had stated that he would not be able to be physically present at all the locations.
Hence, he has deputed Singh to take care of GLADA and LIT affairs. “If anyone wants to meet me relating to problems of these departments, they can contact me in my mini-secretariat office,” said the DC.
Locational advantage, an upcoming thermal plant project and an ambitious master plan have so far failed to add zing to the real estate market in this nodal town of Punjab
Rajpura known as the ‘Gateway to Punjab’ is fast becoming the victim of the illegal residential colonies. Not only are residential townships in the Rajpura municipal council limits coming up without requisite approvals, but colonies and commercial establishments on the Rajpura-Chandigarh Road and Rajpura-Patiala Road are also unapproved. Though, when one of the largest engineering companies — Larsen & Toubro Ltd started the setting up of the 1400-MW Thermal Power Project in Rajpura, some two years back, it was expected that the real estate activity on the Rajpura-Chandigarh and Rajpura-Patiala roads will gain momentum and land prices in both these areas will go up. The realtors were expecting that the thermal plant project and the proposed master plan for the Rajpura would not only bring physical infrastructure to Rajpura, but would also make the real estate sector flourish. However, two years down the line, things have turned to be otherwise.
Though Rajpura offers excellent investment destination because of its locational advantage and proximity to Chandigarh, the real estate sector here is passing through recession. Despite the presence of large scale industries such as Hindustan Unilever, Siel Chemicals, Amber Enterprises Limited, Amrit Banaspati and the under-construction Rajpura Thermal Plant, the sale-purchase activity in and around Rajpura has failed to witness the expected boom. Though there are many reasons for this tepid market, the main reason is that villagers in the Rajpura are strongly against the acquisition of land for different projects due to which big investors are not interested in starting any major venture here.
Speaking to The Real Estate, Ramesh Kumar of Mahalaxmi Proper Dealers, said illegal colonies were mushrooming without any check within the municipal limits of the Rajpura and this had led to haphazard urban housing development. “Several unapproved colonies are thriving on the outskirts of Rajpura (the present price of land is between Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,000 per sq yd), and this clearly indicates the lack of demand for property. In Rajpura town illegal colonies have come up in several areas, including Dakansu, Green Phase and Chauhan Colony,” he said.
However, the two areas in Rajpura that have witnessed a considerable increase in the land prices are Madhuban Colony and Kanika Gardens. “While a few years back, the land rate in Madhuban Colony was just Rs 3,000 per sq yd, today the land prices have increased four times. Likewise, the land prices in Kanika Garden have gone up to Rs 30,000 per sq yd,” said Ramesh.
Overall the realty market, especially the residential segment has been stagnating in this town. As Ashok Verma of Ashoka Real Estate says, “the land prices on the Rajpura-Chandigarh Road have remained stable for the past two years.”
The land prices on the Rajpura-Chandigarh road, near the Gian Sagar Institute are about Rs 4,100 per sq yd for the past almost two years. On some stretch along this road the prices are about Rs 6,000 per sq yd. “Because of the recession, the real estate market is down and the sale-purchase activity is on the low,” says Verma while adding that prices in localities along the Rajpura-Patiala road had seen some appreciation. “The prevailing land rates on the Rajpura-Patiala road are between Rs 8,000 and Rs 11,000 per sq yd,” he informed. Ajay Kamal of Punjab and Himachal Property Consultants said that apart from the slump in the market, the ban imposed on the registry by the administration has also affected the real estate sector in the recent past. “Because of the ban on registries the sale-purchase activity has nosedived further,” he rued.
What is interesting is that many real estate consultants in Rajpura said that when the Rajpura Thermal Plant Project had got underway, it was expected that new townships and residential colonies would come up in the area, to cater to the housing accommodation requirement of the thermal plant staff. But contrary to that a majority of the thermal plant staff has so far preferred to take accommodation in Zirakpur because of its proximity to Chandigarh and the availability of good flats in that belt. “Once the plant is commissioned and the master plan is notified, things may change and the real estate sector in and around the Rajpura may flourish”, said Jagjit Singh, a local real estate consultant.
Rajpura is an important sub-division of Patiala district and its location is very ideal as two national highways cross through it. Rajpura acts as mid-point between Amritsar and Delhi and is the first railway junction of Punjab and Delhi — the Amritsar Railway Line. Recognising the need for regulating the development of Rajpura, the Punjab Government had declared a Local Planning Area Rajpura (LPA Rajpura) in December 2007. Chief Town Planner, Punjab, was designated as the Planning Agency to prepare the master plan of LPA Rajpura. LPA Rajpura comprises 166 villages and the master plan was drafted in a manner that all sections of society, including the public sector, private economic sector and the social sector had a fair representation. The main aim was to develop industry, trade and commerce in Rajpura by striking a balance in the distribution of pre-dominant land uses with enhanced connectivity through road, rail and freight corridor in an environmentally sustainable manner. The draft master plan was prepared and objections were heard. In the master plan, the land-use zones had been proposed for LPA Rajpura residential zone, the commercial zone, wholesale and warehousing zone, industrial zone, logistic zone (corridor), mixed-land-use zone and rural and agricultural zone. An extensive road network has also been proposed for the master plan of LPA Rajpura. This master plan is currently with the CTP and is likely to be notified soon.
Though the state government has formed Patiala Development Authority (PDA) to keep an eye and prevent the construction of illegal colonies, so far nothing concrete seems to have been done to take action against such colonies. Reliable sources in the state government have confirmed that suitable action would be taken against the illegal colonies in coming days. Notably, following the directions of the Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, recently a survey of the state was also conducted to ascertain and identify the colonies that have come up illegally in the state.
The Patiala Deputy Commissioner and the Chief Administrator of the Patiala Development Authority (PDA) G.K.Singh said there were 600 illegal colonies in the district and many of these were in Rajpura and its surrounding areas. Hinting that the authorities were very serious about dealing strongly with such colonisers, he said, “We have already given a notice in the print media about the illegal colonies so that the general masses don’t fall in the trap of shady developers. I have also instructed the sub-registrars not to attest any sale deeds of the land/plots/any other category if the colony has not got the due approval.” He also pointed out that since the Punjab and Haryana High Court was already aware of the matter and had directed the state government to come up with a law empowering the state to demolish unauthorised colonies. “As soon as any policy in this regard is framed, we will be the first one in the Punjab to undertake the demolition drive,” added Singh.
Chandigarh: The Punjab government has finalised the formula for the calculation of the property tax to be levied by the state. The proposed formula — borrowed from New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation — calculates the tax not only on the basis of the size of the property but its location, its occupancy status, covered area and quality of construction.
According to government sources, the proposed formula has been sent to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to be placed before the cabinet meeting scheduled for August 4. The government had decided to impose property tax as part of its commitment towards urban reforms promised by the state to avail funds under the JNNURM.
The formula proposed by the government will be used by the property owner to “self calculate” the amount of tax he is liable to pay and will file a property tax return as is done for income tax. The basic unit for calculation will be the size of the property owned.
Other than the size, however, the amount of property tax to be paid will depend on several other factors. The location of the property will have a major bearing on the amount of tax to be paid. Each municipal area will be divided into zones depending on the development that has taken place. A property owner in a highly developed area will pay more than the owner of a property in a lesser developed area. The quality and age of the construction on the property will also be factored in the property tax calculated.
Property tax from commercial properties will be the highest followed by institutional, residential and industrial. Tax on industrial property has been kept at the lowest to encourage industrialisation in the state.
Each property tax payee will calculate the “rateable value” of his property depending on its size, the zone it falls in, age of construction, value of land and covered space. Once the annual rateable value (ARV) of the space and the building is arrived at, it will be taxed. In NDMC, it ranges from 20 to 30 per cent of the ARV.
The department of local government is expecting to mop up at least Rs 500 crore from the imposition of property tax. The final decision on when the tax will be imposed will be taken by the chief minister and the cabinet.
In May, the department had suggested a unique formula to calculate property tax. It was suggested that the state charge 10 per cent of the electricity consumption bill from urban consumers as property tax. However, the formula was rejected after discussions.
Punjab had also considered the Haryana property tax model, but that too was not found to be good enough. Haryana had rationalised its property tax formula in September last year. “Haryana’s is not a simple model and leaves several gray areas uncovered. Moreover, it is not as transparent as the Punjab model will be,” said a source.
Chandigarh: With the state government set to acquire land for upcoming projects in Amritsar, Ludhiana and Bathinda, it has given in-principle nod to land pooling scheme (LPS) for farmers across Punjab.
In a recent meeting of the urban development and housing department, it was reportedly decided in principle that education and medicine hubs should be developed in Amritsar, Ludhiana and Bathinda and for this, at least 100 acres of land will have to be acquired. Also, around 300 acres will have to be acquired for the extension of the Ludhiana airport — the runway will be extended and a new terminal built. The government plans to develop residential and commercial hubs around the airport.
“For all these acquisitions, the government prefers the land pooling scheme (LPS). According to the scheme, per acre a farmer will get two kanal residential plot (1,000 sq yards) and 100 sq yards of commercial space if he opts for it. Otherwise, he will be paid per acre the market rate, as decided by the government,”’ said a senior official.
Last year, the scheme was implemented across 890 acres in Mohali and residential plots and commercial space were given to farmers after developing the area.