Under pressure from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its coalition partner, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has decided to review the policy for the regularisation of illegal colonies.
Sukhbir Singh Badal, SAD president and deputy chief minister, who also heads the state housing
department, would chair a meeting on Wednesday for the redressal of grievances of people who are required to pay hefty charges for regularisation.
So far, 5,300 colonies spread over 20,000 acres in the state have been identified. The state government has started the process of regularising these by charging compounding fee.
The BJP, along with the opposition Congress, colonisers and residents of these colonies, are opposed to paying compounding charges. They are demanding that "reasonable" charges be imposed.
The demand for extending the last date (August 24) to apply for regularisation is also being raised.
A four-member committee comprising cabinet ministers Bikram Majithia, Anil Joshi and Sharanjeet Dhillon, and chief parliamentary secretary Som Parkash has already been constituted to look into the issue.
"The government will listen to representatives of colonisers, promoters and residents on Wednesday and try to give some relaxation," said Joshi.
"The matter is serious and needs a relook," said state BJP president Kamal Sharma.Reacting to Sukhbir's comment on Monday that the BJP was taken into confidence prior to the decisions on regularisation of colonies and implementing the e-TRIP system, Sharma said the issues could be reviewed in the larger public interest.
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Sunil Jakhar said the government was unreasonably charging hefty fees for regularisation of plots from end users in these colonies. "These people can't be made to suffer for the lapses of officers under whose nose the illegal colonies came up," he added.
A BJP leader said on the request of anonymity, "This experiment can cost the government dear, especially as the 2014 Lok Sabha elections are not far away."
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