Notwithstanding the pending high court judgment, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) enhanced recovery charges from thousands of house/plot owners of Sector 27, 28, 42, 43 and 57. This has been done to give hiked compensation to farmers from whom land was acquired years ago.
The house owners have been given 30 days' time to deposit the fee - ranging from Rs. 4,678 to Rs. 6,282 per square yard for general category and Rs. 520 to Rs. 805 per square yard for economically weaker section (EWS) category. According to the notice, owners have been directed to make the payment in the bank account of the Estate Officer (EO-II), Huda, by December 31, 2012.
"Interest at the rate of 15% per annum would be charged by the Huda from defaulters," the notice says.
Residents, however, said they have been taken by surprise. They accused the civic body of acting in haste as the Punjab and Haryana High Court was yet to decide on the levy.
"The matter is sub-judice. In a hearing on November 23, the court had asked the Huda to set up a committee of officials and plot owners before deciding on the rate. But the Huda went ahead to slap notices despite acting on the order to form the special panel first," said Ardaman Sandhu, a plot owner.
Residents said the enhancement rates would adversely affect senior citizens and retired officials who have invested their life's savings to buy plots at a cost of Rs. 4,500 to Rs. 5,500 per square yard. The additional burden will exponentially hike the rates to Rs. 11,000 to Rs. 12,000 per square yard.
The HUDA, on the other hand, claimed the notices were issued in compliance with the court orders.
"How can Huda serve notices without court orders? Rather, the Huda is following court directions," said Praveen Kumar, Huda administrator.
What enhancement notice means: Farmers whose land had been acquired by the Haryana government at the then prevailing compensation rates, to be later transferred to the Huda for development, had moved court seeking more compensation. If the decision is in the farmers' favour, extra compensation is paid by the development authority in the name of enhancement charges.
The authority shifted the burden on property owners who are legally bound to pay up as per a condition in the buyer-seller agreement.