By modifying its hitech township policy to facilitate Sushant Golf City’s extension by another 2935 acres on Sultanpur road, the state government has paved way for this Ansal API township to be the biggest in the country.
Despite a change in the policy, chief secretary Javed Usmani, however, deferred a decision on the extension proposal at the High Power Committee (HPC) meeting convened on Thursday.
“The CS has sought a detailed progress report of the development work and other policy commitment’s undertaken by the Ansals in the first and second phase,” said a senior official requesting anonymity.
The move to grant extension, according to highly placed sources, was strongly opposed by district magistrate, Lucknow and a senior official of the Urban Development department.
But unofficially, senior officials admitted that it was only a matter of time and decks had been cleared for the expansion.
The developer’s executive director (operations) Ramesh Yadav is obviously a happy man.
“With the new increase in area (proposal for which has already been submitted to the High Power Committee for the project), our 6,465 acre township would be the biggest in the country,” he told Hindustan Times.
He said the township was being developed with a worldclass infrastructure and facilities for all income groups and only recently it had tied up with the prestigious Medanta hospital for setting up a medi-city.
Initially, granted licence for 1,765 acre in 2005, the deeppocketed developers of this mega township were given a second extension of an equal area (1,765 acre) by the Mayawati government in 2010.
With the demand for housing fast gobbling up this land too, the developer applied for a third extension before the HPC headed by chief secretary on June 4, 2013.
The state government was not averse to granting the third extension but a policy limitation landed the authorities in a Catch-22 situation.
Framed for five years, the hi-tech township policy 2007 is silent on the size of the township.
It, however, clearly stipulates that only five development agreements can be signed between the developer and the regulator.
And, in this case the regulator that is LDA has already executed these five specified DAs with the developer. Hence, without lifting or modifying this restriction on development agreement, extension cannot be allowed.
Consequently, the HPC deferred its decision on the extension proposal and referred the matter to the state cabinet for taking a call on the issue if a third expansion was to be granted.
The usually sluggish government machinery showed remarkable speed in referring the matter to the state cabinet, which promptly made the desired change in the policy in its meeting on June 27.
On July 2, principal secretary, Housing, Sadakant issued a government order stating that the number of DAs on the “lapsed policy 2007” had been increased up to seven in the context of a township with an area of 6,0007500 acres.
The amendment provides scope for other developers also to seek extension of their housing projects (under the policy licence for only two hi-tech townships can be given in a city).
In Lucknow, the second hitech township licence is held by Garv Buildtech (a subsidiary of Omaxe).
With a proposed area of 2700 acres on Rae Bareli Road, the real estate developer had signed an MoU with the LDA on September 10, 2009 and got a layout approved for 659 acres but very little development has place taken at the project site.