In a big relief to the Haryana government, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday dismissed petitions by scores of national capital region (NCR) colonisers seeking refund or proportionate levy of external development charges (EDC).
Haryana additional advocate general Amar Vivek, who dealt with the matter on behalf of state, said the total amount of EDC calculated in respect of these colonisers stood at around Rs 35,000 crore, of which so far they had paid only one third of the total amount and were dillydallying on remaining payment.
The petitions were filed in May this year, by 60-odd colonisers, mainly from Gurgaon and Faridabad, alleging that the government had failed to create the requisite infrastructure in the vicinity of these colonies, as promised. It was also argued in their petitions that the government should be asked to refund the EDC charged levied so far or in future it should be levied in proportion to the development work carried by state agencies in a particular area. The detailed order is awaited.
EDC is paid by the colonisers on the basis of an agreement between them and the state town and country planning department. The charges are worked out at the time of agreement factoring in cost of land acquisition and need of infrastructure in a particular area. But charges remain almost same in most cases. The coloniser has to pay it in installments to the government. Most of these agreements were said to be of or after the year 2000.
The government in its defense had argued that even if it were making development in the whole of the town or even in the periphery thereof, it would fall within description of EDC work.
It had cited the works being carried out by it to provide water, electricity and sewerage system, especially in the case of Gurgaon. “The fact remains that the payment of EDCs by the colonszer/builder cannot be related nor equated to such an activity under any circumstance, because the creation of such activity and facility is an ongoing process, which cannot be given any particular time,” Amar Vivek told HT.