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Vinod Kumar, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, July 18, 2013
The Punjab and Haryana high court has pulled up Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) for failure to resolve the issue pertaining to irregularities in the allotment of government accommodation to its employees.
The court has summoned the house allotment committee chairman and CITCO director for July 31 to explain the reason for delay and how CITCO employees continue to occupy government houses.

A total of 48 different types of government houses stand occupied by CITCO employees. According to norms, the employees of CITCO are not entitled to government accommodation. Following a petition filed in the court by an employee of the administration, the court on December 12, 2012, had already imposed embargo on CITCO for further allotment of houses to its employees.

During the second hearing on January 16, 2013, the court had granted eight-week time to the administration for submitting an affidavit stating the steps taken to resolve the issue. However, till date, the administration has failed to comply with the court directions.

What conversion entails

An employee of the administration had moved petition the high court stating that employees of CITCO, who otherwise are not eligible either under the rules or in accordance with the law framed by court, had been allotted government houses.

A full bench of the high court in a decision in 1985 had held that the employees of central government undertakings, employees of government control corporation for state of Punjab, Haryana and UT such as CITCO are not entitled to the allotment of government houses.

Flouting the directions of the court and house allotment rules with impunity, CITCO over the years had been allotting houses to its employees. As per the rules, a house falling vacant on the retirement of an employee has to come in the Chandigarh administration general pool and can thereafter be allotted in accordance with government residences allotment rules, 1996, strictly in accordance with seniority.

The UT administration in an affidavit submitted in the court had stated that as per earlier allotment rules of 1972, some government houses were transferred to CITCO to be allotted to employees working under CITCO. However, after new allotment rules called government residencies allotment rules, 1996, came into force it provided that “the houses already allotted to the employees of the ineligible offices and other such categories shall be got vacated on their transfer out of Chandigarh, resignation, dismissal, retirement or death”. This decision was conveyed to CITCO on November 19, 2006.

The administration in the affidavit had claimed that they had several times conveyed to CITCO for reverting the vacant houses back to the “Chandigarh administration general pool”. However, it continued with the allotment of vacant houses to its own employees.