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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Admn refuses to allow larger construction on IT Park plots

Vinod Kumar, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, November 07, 2013
First Published: 10:00 IST(7/11/2013) | Last Updated: 10:01 IST(7/11/2013)

In a major blow to companies operating from the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP, or IT Park), the UT administration has decided not to enhance the floor area ratio (FAR) of plots in its two phases. FAR is the ratio of the floor area of all levels of a building to the area of land it is built on.

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With the Supreme Court having already cancelled phase 3 of the IT Park in October last year — over the UT administration not following norms for the project — companies have been demanding enhancement of the FAR from 1.5:1 to 2:1 for expansion.

Sources said the authorities were of the view that increase in FAR would have an adverse impact on the coherence of the city’s urban design. “Increase in FAR would effectively allow high-rise buildings, which will adversely affect the city’s image of having been built on sound urban design principles,” said a senior official.

Giving the example of Industrial Area, the official said that with relaxations in FAR and building height under the conversion policy, many high-rise structures had come up adjoining the low-rise, architecturally controlled buildings, which had affected the design.

The firms persist with the demand. Sameer Jain of Net Solutions said, “There are many companies suffering due to space crunch. The administration should enhance the FAR for the growth of the IT sector.

Raman Aggarwal of Aeren IT Solutions said: "With the third phase of the IT Park not coming, there is an obvious space crunch. Revenue and employment generation are directly related to it.

Besides FAR, the authorities have also not agreed to allow companies to sublet their buildings. Despite repeated attempts, UT information technology secretary Prerna Puri was not available for comment.

The IT Park currently houses at least 50 companies, including IT giants Infosys and Tech Mahindra, which have nearly 17,000 employees. To create IT-friendly environment, the administration had invested more than `100 crore in the Park, besides giving additional benefits such as exemption from value-added tax (VAT), central sale tax (CST), electricity duty, stamp duty and property tax.

FAR: What is floor area ratio?

It is the ratio of the total floor area of a building to the size of the plot it is built on. Say, on a 100 square yard plot, if the current FAR is 1.5:1, you can only have 150 square yards as the total floor area of your construction on it.

Works well for Chandigarh Industrial Area

With the administration deciding not to allow more floor area construction on plots in the IT Park, the Industrial Area stands to gain and emerge as an alternative for IT companies to expand their businesses. The UT administration has already given nod for setting up of IT and IT-enabled services in the Industrial Area’s twin phases. The ministry of home affairs has also directed administration to notify this at the earliest. Those interested in setting up IT units would have to submit an application with detailed project report, and the administration would give permission on case-by-case basis.

Industries Association of Chandigarh (IAC) president Arun Mahajan said, “IT-related activities will give a new lease of life to the Industrial Area.”

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