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Haryana govt in rush to give licences before polls

india Updated: Aug 23, 2014 07:20 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja

With assembly polls likely in a couple of months, the Haryana government seems to be in a hurry to issue licences to private-sector developers before the model code of conduct kicks in.

Out of the 111 licences given out this year, 40 were issued in the first fortnight of August. In contrast, the town and country planning department had distributed only 77 licences between January 1 and August 14 last year.

The figures stood at 78, 73 and 63 licences for the same period in 2012, 2011 and 2010, respectively.

A majority of the licences have gone to developers in Gurgaon — a cash cow for realtors — with 82 of the 111 permits this year allotted to firms in the millennium city. Around 28 of the 40 licences in August have also gone to Gurgaon.

Haryana may go to polls in October and licences cannot be issued once the model poll code is announced, likely by the end of August. New permits can be issued only after election of a new state government.

The rush has benefitted private-sector developers in all categories – plotted townships, high income group housing societies, commercial buildings and affordable housing projects. Licence recipients include big-ticket developers and small-time builders, even rookies.

A senior department official, however, defended the government, saying the spike was due to a pile-up of applications following a high court embargo on issuing licences. “After a petition, the Punjab and Haryana HC in January had asked the state government to not issue licences until the sub-regional plan (SRP) 2031 was notified. After the plan was notified in May, the department immediately started issuing licences,” he said.

The SRP is a master planning document prepared by the government for allocating real-estate for various purposes. The plan has to be submitted to the NCR planning board and government authorities cannot issue licences to realtors without the SRP being notified.

The government notified the plan on May 28, lifting the freeze on licences in place since January. The very next month, Haryana created a record of sorts by issuing 51 licences to developers.

After the plan was notified, the government had sought clarification from state advocate general if it could start granting Change in Land Use permissions and licences. The move was due to the HC listing the matter for August 22 since the government had failed to comply with the court’s directive at an earlier May 14 hearing.

On Friday, however, the court deferred the hearing to September 19, giving the government more time to issue licences.