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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Chaos over reduced charges forces applicants stay home

Sanjeev Bhalla, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, October 24, 2013
First Published: 20:42 IST(24/10/2013) | Last Updated: 20:51 IST(25/10/2013)

Even though the Punjab government had announced to reduce the construction charges for illegal colonies, the local authorities on Thursday continued to charge according to the previous rates.

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Reason: non-availability of an official notification till late afternoon. Effect: lesser number of people approaching for regularisation.

The state government had taken the decision at a cabinet meeting on October 21. The construction charges have been reduced from `12.5 per sq ft to `5 per sq ft for properties falling under the jurisdiction of the municipal corporation (MC) and from `12.5 per sq ft to `2.5 per sq ft for those under Jalandhar Development Authority (JDA).

The MC authorities came to know on Thursday afternoon that the local bodies department in Chandigarh had uploaded the government notification on its portal. Before downloading it, they continued to charge according to the old rates, sources said. The JDA and deputy director local government are still unaware of the online update.

After giving 45 days, the government had set October 7 as the deadline for regularisation of illegal structures, which was later extended to October 25.

"Reading about reduction in construction charges in newspapers was a relief. But when I approached the MC, they said old rates would be applied due to non-availability of a notification. It has been two days now and tomorrow is last day to submit our files. I will wait till the MC starts charging according to the revised rates, as afterwards it becomes difficult to claim a refund," said Davinder Singh, a local resident.

After the deadline was extended, the number of applications received reduced to a considerable extent, as people became casual, said senior town planner MC Tirlok Singh. He said: "Till October 7, we had received around 12,000 applications, but after that till today the number has touched 16,500. We expect a heavy rush on Friday, being it the last date."

An MC official said: "People are expecting extension in the deadline again. They are approaching us for the past two days, but only to enquire about the reduction in construction charges. Some have even started demanding their deposited applications back besides requesting for the issuance of an NOC as per the revised rates." He said: "The government should issue clear instructions to authorities concerned in order to avoid any confusion."

The JDA, which has more than 50,000 properties under its jurisdiction, has received only 6,000 applications so far, sources said.

The MC has received around `10 crore as regularisation charges and it has to refund a heavy amount in view of reduction in construction charges.

In a nutshell

Applications received so far

Municipal Corporation

Plot holders: 16,500
Colonisers: 94 (total 323)
NOCs issued: 4,500

Jalandhar Development Authority

Plot holders: 6,000
Colonisers: 366 (total 433)
NOCs issued: 1,100

Deputy director local government

Plot holders: 4,646
Colonisers: 139 (total 369)
NOCs issued: 800

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