Chandigarh: CHB panel to study options for need-based changes

Chandigarh Housing Board secretary to head panel that will examine the long-standing demand of allottees for more relaxations in regularisation policy for need-based changes in CHB residential units
Around 4.5 lakh people reside in 65,000-odd CHB houses in Chandigarh.
Around 4.5 lakh people reside in 65,000-odd CHB houses in Chandigarh.
Published on Sep 09, 2021 01:01 AM IST
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By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh

A committee headed by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) secretary will examine the long-standing demand of allottees for more relaxations in the regularisation policy for need-based changes in its residential units.

The decision was taken during a meeting of the CHB board of directors on Wednesday. Among the demands is the adoption of the Delhi model for a one-time settlement policy, which will also be looked into afresh. The issue affects around 4.5 lakh people residing in 65,000-odd CHB houses in the city.

“All options, including the one-time policy, are on the table. The committee will examine all these options to decide what further need-based changes can be considered in residential units,” said Yashpal Garg, chief executive officer, CHB.

Earlier this year, the CHB refused to provide any more relaxations after the CHB Residents’ Welfare Federation took up the matter with the UT administrator’s office. However, with municipal elections round the corner, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been pushing for more relaxations and had even held a protest outside the CHB office.

Prem Kaushik, a CHB board member and vice-president of the Chandigarh BJP, said: “During the meeting, officials were not in favour of allowing more relaxations under need-based changes. After a detailed discussion, wherein I suggested six solutions, the board decided to constitute a committee.”

The committee also comprises members of other UT departments concerned. It will be consulting nominated members of the board, resident welfare associations and other stakeholders to find some “innovative solutions”. Its report will be placed before the board for final decision.

Meanwhile, giving some relief to the allottees, the board on Wednesday decided that in case any allotment has been cancelled due to building violations and an appeal is pending before the board, it will be restored on two conditions: removal of all building violations by December 31, 2021, and payment of applicable revival/restoration charges.

What is the regularisation policy

The CHB came out with a regularisation policy for the first time in 2017. However, it received only 40 applications. The policy was further relaxed in 2019, allowing regularisation of various additions and alterations in dwelling units, though encroachments were not covered.

Despite the relaxations, a survey conducted in 2020 found that 90% of the CHB’s 65,000-odd dwelling units still had massive structural violations. Under the 2019 policy, in case a violation is not removed, at own cost, the allotment may be cancelled and possession resumed. A certificate of structural stability of the building is also to be submitted.

In an order issued in April 2021, the CHB deferred the action till December, stating that the allottees who do not deposit penal charges on the basis of self-certified area will be issued notices of demolition or cancellation thereafter.

CHB allottees complain that the policy didn’t resolve their problems, and as per the Delhi Model, the covered area should be relaxed.

Explaining the model, Nirmal Datt, chairman, CHB residents’ welfare federation, said: “At present, the board tolerates all types of so-called violations by charging an annual penalty. For a complete relief, it can easily take one-time charges for any excess coverage inside or outside the plot area without regularising this excess coverage and denying people any legal right over it. Supporting documents, such as the structural stability certificate, can be made mandatory.”

Board to slash reserve price of leasehold properties

After getting poor response to the auction of leasehold properties, the Chandigarh Housing Board has decided to cut the reserve prices.

The reserve price of commercial units on leasehold property will be cut by 20% and residential units by 10% in the next e-auction of these propertiesThis was decided in the CHB board of directors meeting held on Wednesday.

The CHB, in the past four months, has conducted four e-auctions for its 121 freehold residential properties and has been able to sell 87, earning 70.59 crore. In the same period, it has been able to sell only two residential and nine commercial leasehold properties, earning 1.74 crore and 4.73 crore, respectively.

“In leasehold properties, the allottee is required to pay a yearly ground rent at the rate of 2.5% of the consideration amount for 33 years, followed by 3.75% for next 33 years and 5% for the subsequent 33 years. Since this is a substantial amount and ownership rights are inferior than in the case of freehold, people prefer to go for the latter properties,” said a CHB official.

Also, conversion of leasehold property to freehold is a costly affair. “The conversion charges for residential properties may range from 12% to 15% of the consideration amount. However, the conversion is not permitted in the case of commercial properties,” said the official.

IT Park scheme: In-principle nod to 643-crore cost

The general housing scheme at IT Park will cost the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) 643.64 crore.

In a meeting of the CHB board of directors, chaired by UT adviser Dharam Pal, the engineering cost estimate of 643.64 crore for the project was approved in principle.

“Tentative cost of the flats will be worked out after approval of the plan approval committees (upper) for detailed drawings and a separate detailed agenda to be brought before the board, prior to launch of the scheme. Thereafter, a brochure of the scheme will be drafted as per the existing rules/regulations,” said Yashpal Garg, chief executive officer, CHB.

The general housing scheme, planned at IT park, is spread over 16.6 acre and has 728 dwelling units under different categories: a four-bedroom flat is likely to cost nearly 2.75 crore, a three-bedroom flat 1.9 crore and a two-bedroom flat 1.3 crore. Only after the board approves the cost estimates for the project, the CHB will finalise the rates.

Revisit plan for Sector-61 market: UT adviser

The UT adviser, in the meeting, stated that the market in Sector 61 (Kajheri), where all the commercial units are lying vacant, needed to be assessed by some experts for exploring different options.

“Since the whole market has been lying unsold for more than 20 years, we need to revisit the whole plan and there may be many options like converting it into a single plot or redeveloping it as an office complex, etc,” said Pal.

In other decisions, the CHB will fill 40 vacant posts of clerks through direct recruitment in a fair and transparent manner. The existing ceiling of medical reimbursement to the retired employees of the board will be enhanced from 50,000 to 1,00,000 per annum. The employee quarters will be renovated on the lines of improvement specifications of the houses of the Chandigarh administration.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021