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Vinod Kumar, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, February 04, 2013
In a major setback to industrialists, the UT administration is all set to impose embargo on transfer of leasehold industrial plots.
The issue was discussed in a meeting of top officials of the UT administration with administrator Shivraj Patil held on February 1. According to sources, the administrator is of the view that the plots were allotted for setting up businesses and not for the purpose of further selling them. The officials concerned were asked to legally find a way for repealing the provision of transfer of industrial plots on leasehold.

The administration and the city-based industrialists have been at loggerheads over the issue of transfer of leasehold plots. Recently, three industrialists approached the Punjab and Haryana high court challenging the provisions of the Chandigarh Estate Rules, 2007, pertaining to transfer of such plots.

According to the official records, there are around 2,000 leasehold plots in Phase 1 and 2 of Industrial Area allotted between 1973 and 1982 with the allotment letter mentioning that these plots were transferable after 15 years.

For transfer of such plots, the administration is charging fee of unearned increase in the value - that is the difference between the price paid by the original allottee and the market value of the site or building at the time of permission of transfer.

The administration issued a notification dated June 6, 2002, under Rule 9-A of the Chandigarh (sale of sites and buildings) Rules, 1960, read with Rule 17 (10) of the Chandigarh Lease-Hold of Sites and Building Rules, 1973, fixing the fee for transfer of leasehold rights for various categories not subject to payment of unearned increase in terms of Rule 17 (10) of the Rules of 1973.

The notification was superseded by another notification dated May 26, 2003, issued under Rule 17 (10) of the Rules of 1973 in which transfer charges for industrial plots were fixed at Rs. 200 per square yard.

By a notification dated November 7, 2007, the UT administrator promulgated a new set of rules called the Chandigarh Estate Rules, 2007, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 and 22 of the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952, as adapted by the Punjab Reorganisation (Chandigarh) Adaption of Laws (on State and Concurrent Subjects) Order, 1968.

By the said notification, the Chandigarh (Sale of Sites and Buildings) Rules, 1960, and Chandigarh Lease-Hold of Sites and Building Rules, 1973, were repealed. The Chandigarh Estate Rules, 2007, was further amended by notification dated December 14, 2009.

The Chandigarh Estate Rules, 2007, provide that transfer by way of sale, gift, mortgage or otherwise of the site or any right, title or interest therein may be allowed, subject to payment of one third of unearned increase in the value.

Criticising the administration, Industries Association of Chandigarh president Arun Mahajan said the move of imposing ban on transfer of leasehold plots would do no good except for increasing the number of litigations. "Industry is already going through a rough phase. The administration should play a supportive role rather than coming up with such a decision," said Mahajan.

Echoing similar sentiments, Vinod Joshi, who is chairman of the building bylaws committee of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM), said the CBM along with other industries associations would take up the issue with the authorities concerned to ensure that no such step was taken. "In other states, the government is doing so much for the industrialists, which is not the case in Chandigarh," rued Joshi.