At a time when the Punjab government is gearing up to contest the assembly elections scheduled to be held next year, the work for the regularisation of unauthorised plots and colonies has almost come to a halt with around 10,000 cases pending with the Housing and Urban Development Department. With this, the state government’s move to not take an early call on regularisation of plots and colonies is likely to face anger from a section of the people as the basic facilities have not been provided to the plot holders.The state government has allegedly collected more than Rs 800 crore for regularisation of over 20,000 ‘unauthorised’ colonies after it came out with its much-publicised 2013 ‘regularisation policy’ or the Punjab Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2013. According to sources, neither has any colony been regularised so far, nor has any money collected for it reportedly been spent on the development of these colonies.
On the other hand, officials of the Housing and Urban Development Department, Punjab, said that 10,000 applications had been filed with the department but the majority of colonies had failed to meet the stipulated criteria laid out for regularisation. “More than 2.75 lakh of a total of 4.85 lakh unauthorised houses or plots have been regularised,” said an officer.
Meanwhile, the state president of Punjab colonisers and property dealers association, Kultar Singh Jogi, said, “Despite the regularisation policy being introduced in 2013, the state government has changed its terms and conditions various times. Earlier, colonisers had been asked to deposit a fee of Rs 1 lakh per acre but later it was changed to yards. For regularisation of 1 acre, one was required to deposit Rs 10-15 lakh,, he said.
He further said that in case the state government fails to settle the issue by September 10, developers, colonisers and property dealers in the state would be forced to hold dharnas at district headquarters against the government’s dilly-dallying attitude. “The state government has taken more than Rs 800 crore in the name of regularisation, promising that the money would be spent on development of the sites. But not a single penny has been spent on the sites,” he alleged.
The state government had prepared a policy to regularise unauthorised colonies in 2013 but its tenure had been extended five times since then. According to the policy, the state government had recovered Rs 800 crore from plot holders and colonisers but the work to regularise colonies had not been done so far. Even as the plot holders had submitted the requisite fee for plot regularisation, no basic facilities were provided to them.
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