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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Short on staff, MC grapples with several refund cases

Sachin Sharma, Hindustan Times  Bathinda, January 28, 2014
First Published: 19:28 IST(28/1/2014) | Last Updated: 19:29 IST(28/1/2014)

A decision taken by the state government has left the municipal corporation of Bathinda (MCB) to deal with a large number of applications seeking refund of the amount deposited for regularisation of unauthorised plots and colonies that had come up before 1995.

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As the work on accepting applications for regularisation of unauthorised plots and colonies is still going on and January 31 being the last date with 20% penalty for plot holders and 50% penalty for colonisers to submit applications, the corporation is yet to take a step in direction to refund the amount deposited by the owners of pre-1995 plots and colonies.

Sources have revealed that over 250 owners of plots and colonies that were constructed before 1995 had deposited the fee to get their properties regularised with the MCB. However, as the state government has exempted the plots and colonies built before 1995 from paying any fee for regularisation, many applicants have applied for the refund.

Initially, under the state government's policy of regularising unauthorised plots and colonies a fee was fixed for all illegal structures irrespective of the time period when these were constructed. However, later the state government exempted the pre-1995 structures from depositing any fee for the purpose. Owing to the delay in taking a decision in this regard many of the owners deposited the amount, which has to be paid back to them now.

An official in the MCB on the condition of anonymity said the corporation was already facing staff crunch. Moreover, with employee being shifted from one work to another frequently depending upon their requirement, the task of paying back the amount will add to the burden on the staff, the official added.

Sources have revealed that several applicants are making rounds of the corporation office but as nothing is being done on this front right now, they are left with no option but to wait.

MCB commissioner Vipul Ujwal said the authorities can't say exactly as to what amount has to be repaid to the applicants who own pre-1995 structures. He, however, maintained that it will surely be huge amount and concerted efforts are required to do this work. The MCB will start a single-window facility for such applicants where they can apply and seek the refund, the commissioner added.

"A single-window facility for the purpose will be started from next week and we will make ensure that the applicants do not have to make unnecessary visits of the corporation office and that they get the refund without any hassle," he said, adding that the urban body will have to examine each application minutely to avoid any loss to exchequer.

The corporation has so far earned revenue of about `9 crore through regularisation of unauthorised structures.

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