After granting permissions to raise constructions in areas delineated as natural conservation zones (NCZs) or falling in “status yet to be decided” category in the national capital region (NCR) districts in October 2015, the Haryana government has decided to put the approvals on hold.
The move is likely to result in litigations as approvals granted before the terms of reference of NCZ were conveyed to the state government are valid approvals. Moreover, the state government’s decision to keep the land acquired by government agencies out of the ambit of confirmed NCZ smacks of disparity. The demarcation of NCZ in the national capital region has already become a contentious issue with plenty of confusion prevailing over interpretation of areas recorded in revenue records.
When asked about reasons behind government’s change of mind, town and country planning additional chief secretary P Raghavendra Rao said that there were some reports of violations. “Also the government would like to ensure that no one gets undue advantage. We are also examining the issue to ensure that we are legally correct,’’ he said.
The first order
The decision to honour permissions given by town and country planning, urban local bodies and forest and environment departments to construct structures that were approved before August 12, 2014 -- the day on which National Capital Region Planning Board conveyed the terms of reference for delineation of NCZs -- was given by the state government on October 16, 2015.
“It was observed in several cases, the competent authorities have granted permissions to raise constructions in confirmed NCZs or ‘status yet to be decided’ areas. The structures are either completed or construction is going on or the permission is still valid. After detailed deliberations it was observed that all such permissions that have been granted by the competent authorities may be honoured. In view of this, the state government has decided to honour such permissions to avoid further litigation and legal complications. Therefore, all such permissions granted before the cut-off date (August 12, 2o14) in confirmed NCZ ‘status yet to be decided’ areas shall be treated as valid and honoured,’’ said the October 2015 order issued by the chief co-ordinator planner, NCR, Haryana, to deputy commissioners of nine NCR districts.
Change of mind
However, in a volte face, the state government has decided to put the approvals on hold following a meeting, to review the progress of finalisation of areas falling under NCZs, held by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on January 11.
“After detailed deliberations it was decided that no further action will be taken on the basis of October 2015 order regarding permissions granted by the competent authorities to raise constructions in the confirmed NCZ or ‘status yet to be decided’ category in any specific case or generally till further orders. Lands acquired by HSIIDC, HUDA or those falling under Dedicated Freight Corridor, Kundli Manesar Palwal Expressway, PWD, HSAMB and municipal corporation roads may be kept out of the confirmed NCZ category,’’ said the January 14, 2016, order of the chief co-ordinator planner, NCR, Haryana. T0wn and country planning department officials said that while no fresh licence has been issued in these areas since October 2015, the approvals accorded before August 2014 cannot be annulled like that.