The state government’s regularisation policy is finding few takers in Barnala. Of the 73 colonies identified by the municipal council, only nine have deposited a composition fee of Rs. 2.72 lakh (installment amount). Four hundred and seven plot holders have deposited Rs. 84 lakh as regularisation fee.
For colonies outside MC limits, the Patiala Development Authority (PDA) is accepting applications. SDO Rakesh Singla refused to disclose the number of applications and amount of composition fees received.
The reasons for the tepid response are confusion in the mind of stakeholders and the apathy of the MC towards the process. Another reason is the ignorance of NRIs about the scheme.
Plot holders are required to deposit charges based on a cut-off date. The rates are substantially higher for plots developed after August 17, 2007. The MC has directed them to deposit charges based on the last registration date of title deed, even if the colony was constructed before that date.
“There cannot be different rates for plots in the same colony. We should be charged based on the date of establishment of the colony and not on the basis of title deed date,” said a plot holder.
Policy mandates that the sale of more than 50% of total number of plots or more than 50% of the area shall be the basis for determining the time period of establishment of an unauthorised colony.
Bhagwant Rai, a plot holder said, “Colonisers sold us plots illegally. Forcing us to pay for their fault is like adding insult to injury. For colonies that came up before August 17, 2007, plot holders will pay up to Rs. 12 Lakh per acre. Colonisers will pay only Rs. 1 lakh per acre. This is unfair.”
“MC does not provide even blank application forms. When I went to MC office, they advised me to go to an architect, who are charging Rs. 1,000 for filling a proforma,” claimed Raman Kumar, a plot holder.
For colonies situated in MC limits, regularisation charges and composition fee on buildings only shall be retained by the department of local government, Punjab. MCs are required to provide amenities in these colonies. The policy does not state whether charges collected from plot holders would be spent in their respective colonies or the amount would be pooled and aggregated. The time frame to provide amenities has not been given.
MC authorities approved the maps in respect of plots in these colonies and tehsildars registered title deeds, yet these have been considered illegal. The policy does not seek any action against government officers, who allowed the colonies to come up.
Under the Punjab Apartment & Property Regulation Act, 1995 (PAPRA), a minimum of 35% area is required to be utilised in roads, open spaces and in providing basic amenities. However, this would not be possible in these colonies as many of these have already sold more than 65% land.
Water supply and sewerage are to be provided only if colony is regularised or 70% of plots deposit regularisation fees, otherwise they would not be eligible for amenities.
“It is also not clear whether the policy is applicable for colonies established after 1995 or after 1975,” said Ashok Kumar Garg, President of Barnala Colonisers and Builders Association.
Garg said that in Barnala, about 40 colonisers are ready to deposit composition fees on per acre criteria. “We had purchased agricultural land in acres, not in square yards. Our association has boycotted this policy,” he said.
The policy allows three months grace time after October 7 by paying 10% penalty.
Dream City, Officers Enclave, Sandhu Enclave, Sanghera Colony, Evergreen Colony, Ekta Colony, Piara Colony, Ganesh Colony are included in the list of recently regularized colonies in Barnala.