The UT administration has initiated a survey to identify industrialists carrying out activities other than manufacturing without opting for conversion policy in Phase I and II of the Industrial Area with an aim to tighten its noose on defaulters.
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.
A team of the estate office is videographing all plots to ascertain the extent of misuse of the industrial plots. According to sources, appropriate action would be initiated against the defaulters.
The data gathered from the exercise would also be used by the administration to substantiate their claims in a three-decade old dispute with allottees of industrial plots, who were not given possession of the plots. The case is on in the Supreme Court.
A senior official requesting anonymity said: “At present a large number of industrial plots are being misused. The data would help us in further substantiating our claims that the left over allottees would also indulge in activities other than manufacturing.”
Not amused with the decision of the administration to carry out such a survey, Industries Association of Chandigarh (IAC) president Arun Mahajan said that such act on part of administration would inflect fear in the minds of industrialists which is already going through a rough phase. “The issue of misuse can be resolved if the administration implements Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act, 2006,” said Mahajan.
How the dispute started
The administration had invited applications from interested entrepreneurs for allotment of industrial plots of different sizes ranging from 10 marlas to four kanals in 1982. The screening committee of the administration shortlisted 339 applicants for allotment and out of these 57 applicants were given possession of plots in Phases 1 and 2. As many as 21 applicants took refund, while seven were given the option for change of plots.
The remaining 254 allottees could not be given possession of plots as the earmarked land was declared as “reserved forest”. To accommodate the left-out allottees, the administration decided to reduce the size of four and two-kanal plots by 25%.
In February 1991, the administration issued a letter to the allottees of plots measuring four and two kanals to give their consent for accepting reduced size plots while no option was sought from allottees of plots measuring one kanal and 10 marlas. In March 1991, a draw of lot was held.
Subsequently, as many as 224 allottees gave their consent, while 30 others, who did not do the needful approached the Punjab and Haryana high court with a demand that they should be allotted plots at original site and of sizes as decided at the time of draw.
The 30 “non-consentees” were later joined by 61 “consentees”, taking their number to 91.
After nine long years, the high court ordered the administration to allot plots to 61 “consentees” and directed the authorities concerned to refund the amount deposited by “non-consentees” along with an interest of 12% from the date of deposit.
Unhappy with the decision, the “non-consentees” challenged the decision in the Supreme Court.
In February 2004, the apex court directed the UT administration to allot plots to the consentees in Phases 1 and 2 of industrial area at old rate and to non-consentees in Phase 3 at the rates prevailing at the time of allotment, but till date no action has been taken.