Putting an end to the controversy over conversion fee lingering on for the last five years, the Punjab and Haryana high court has directed owners of industrial plots in Phases I and II, who had opted for conversion, to pay conversion fee as fixed by the UT administration.
This fee comes to Rs 29,713 per square yard.
Recently, the UT estate office had issued notices to around 55 plot owners and fixed January 31 as deadline for submission of fees. However, the court has extended the deadline till February 20.
Assistant estate officer (AEO) Rahul Gupta said that all plot owners had been informed accordingly and asked to deposit the requisite fee. Those who failed to comply would not be entitled to avail of the conversion scheme.
What conversion entails?
The administration had introduced 'Chandigarh conversion of land use of industrial sites into commercial activity/services in industrial area Phases I and II' scheme vide notification issued on September 19, 2005. The scheme was initially floated for two years, but later extended for six months. The policy was withdrawn on March 18, 2008.
The administration initially charged Rs 20,000 per square yard as conversion fee, which was enhanced to Rs 29,713 per square yard for applicant whose applications were received on or after December 18, 2007. Before that, around 75 industrialists had availed of the scheme on old rate by paying 10% earnest money and balance in form of post-dated cheques.
The administration had worked the rate of Rs 29,713 per square yard after taking into consideration the price fetched in the last three auctions. Unhappy with the decision, the affected industrialist appealed to the administration, urging it not to charge higher conversion rate. After failing to get a favourable response, the industrialist moved the high court to challenge the UT administration decision on higher conversion fee.
After the conversion policy pertaining to commercial property in the industrial area was implemented, the area was rechristened 'industrial and business park'. Many sick industrial units gave way to malls and hotels.
The administration had set up Phases I and II during 1970's on 147 acres. Plots were originally allotted for setting up manufacturing units, but over the years a large number of allottees have used the land for commercial purposes other than manufacturing.