Chandigarh: When strengthening of the public accountability should be the top priority of the government but bureaucrats seem to be escaping from their acts of omission or commission, it seemingly resulted in huge loss to public exchequer.
Browsing the documents, Daily Post found how bureaucrats in the Chandigarh Administration scuttled the rules to provide ‘undue’ benefit to GPA holders at the cost of public exchequer. In May, 2008, the Finance Department of Chandigarh Administration had sought legal advice from the Estate Office on charging of 1/3rd unearned increase at the time of dwelling units in the cooperative housing societies.
The legal department of the Estate Office sent its advice stating that unearned increase was chargeable in both sets of rules of 1960 and 1973. Even then the Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar in his note stated that charging of unearned increase as per provisions of the rules and conditions of allotment the same, was chargeable and there was no escape from that. It was also stated by the estate office that if the administration decided to do away with condition of unearned increase in a particular case, it would have direct implications on all allotments made at concessional rates.
Admitting to the advice of the estate office, the Finance Department issued an order (notably on Independence Day) No 33/3/128/UTFI(4)/5751 stating that whereas various cooperative house building societies have made representations for not charging unearned increase on transfer of dwelling units from the members, the UT Administrator, Chandigarh after carefully examining these issues, was unable to accede to their request so far as the non-charge of unearned increase was concerned.
Hence, the estate office was asked to calculate unearned increase. The estate office had calculated unearned increase of Rs 5.25 lakh (Cat A); Rs 3.75 (Cat B) and Rs 2.91 (Cat C) in case of 1993 land allotment to societies and sent it to the Finance Department. A meeting was held on June 9, 2008 which was chaired by the Adviser to the Administrator, the Finance Secretary and deputy commissioner-cum- registrar, Cooperative Societies. In the meeting, it was decided to consider reduction of unearned increase to 25 per cent and payment of unearned increase in instalments.
Notably, to escape from the web of rules, the RCS came out with a new idea and submitted that membership of the land was always with the house building societies and that only the societies transferred the shares to the new members so it was quite unrealistic to charge unearned increase from the transfree. In turn, he suggested charging of share/membership transfer fee of Rs 50,000 (Cat A), Rs 35,000 (Cat B) and Rs 15,000 (Cat C) which was approved by then the Home Secretary, Ram Niwas who was holding the additional charge of Finance Department.
While talking to various housing societies, residents said that in the name of share/membership transfer fee as cited above, the administration has transferred a number of dwelling units without levying unearned increase on the transfrees, has incurred huge financial loss to the public exchequer. D R Rana, member of private teachers house building society, said that RCS calculations were made for share/membership transfer fee and share/membership fee should remain in society’s account but in a planned manner, the administration had also taken away this amount (approx. Rs 6 cr) from societies’ accounts.
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