Call it official lethargy or just plain lack of will to act decisively on part of UT administration. For the past three years, about 35 acres of prime land in Phase 2 of the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park has remained unutilised due to the administration’s failure to amend the relevant norms in accordance with the home ministry directive.
Under the Chandigarh Technology Park Rules, 2006, the UT administration had allotted land to information technology companies on the basis of draw-of-lots. However, in 2012, the home affairs ministry observed that land acquired by the administration had often been disposed of at below market value and that without auctioning it.
The ministry later issued directions that land must not be disposed of for any purpose below market prices and without holding an auction. If the administration intended to do otherwise it had to obtain prior approval from the ministry.
Moreover, the UT estate office has also failed to determine the reserve prices (the threshold price fixed at an auction) of the land.
Though the UT information technology department had taken up the matter of effecting an amendment in the tech park rules and determining reserve prices of land to be sold with the departments concerned on several occasions, the exercise proved futile.
With the Supreme Court cancelling the third phase of Chandigarh Technology Park, companies that have already set up shop there have been left with little space to expand their operations. The acquisition of 270 acres of land for development of Phase 3 of the park was challenged in court in 2004, and in October 2012 the Supreme Court declared the acquisition illegal.
To meet their requirements, firms have been demanding enhancement of the floor area ratio (FAR) from 1.5 to 2. The FAR is the ratio of the built-up floor area to the size of the actual plot.
However, the administration has not paid heed to the demand, claiming it would have an adverse impact on the city’s architectural design. It has also not allowed subletting of buildings to other IT firms.
The park has been accorded SEZ (special economic zone) status by the central and currently houses over 65 companies, including software major Infosys.
Despite repeated attempts, Upkar Singh, director, information technology, UT, was not available for comments.