GDA to file review petition against HC order terming additional cess ‘illegal’, sends notices to developers
The Ghaziabad development authority (GDA) has decided to file a review petition and challenge the February 18 Allahabad High Court (HC) order, which deemed illegal the authority’s demand for elevated road cess and the Metro cess, additional fee for increased floor area ratio (FAR) and security deposit for rainwater harvesting from Raj Nagar Extension Developer’s Association.
GDA officials also said that though the decision was for developers of Raj Nagar Extension area in Ghaziabad, it may become a precedent for developers elsewhere in the state. GDA officials also said the UP Urban Planning & Development Act, 1973, provides for realisation of up to 25% building cost as external development charges (EDC).
“We have decided that we will challenge the HC’s order and will file a review petition. The present order may also affect other development authorities in the state in case others move court. Further, it may also affect the prospect of levying charges that are proposed under the value capture finance study for the Regional Rural Transit System (RRTS),” GDA vice-chairperson Kanchan Verma said.
The petitioner, a developers’ association, had approached the HC in 2017 contending that the charges—elevated road and Metro cess, the demand for fee for increased floor area ration (FAR) from 1.5 to 2.5, and ₹2.5 lakh security deposit for RWH-units—was against the provisions of the UP Urban Planning & Development Act, 1973.
The GDA claimed it had levied the Metro and elevated road cess to meet the cost of 10.3-km Hindon elevated road and of the Hindon river Metro station near Raj Nagar Extension. The GDA claimed that both these infrastructure projects were undertaken as per requests made by developers to gentrify Raj Nagar Extension.
Since the order was delivered on February 18, the GDA has been sending notices to developers at Raj Nagar Extension to demand they clear their EDC dues.
“We have identified about 45 private developers who have a combined pendency of about ₹70 crore as EDC. The pending EDC is required to be paid in a week of being served the notice. In case of non-payment, action such as sealing and cancellation of layout maps could be taken,” GDA chief architect and town planner Asheesh Shivpuri said.
Gaurav Gupta, president of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI - Ghaziabad), said they would demand the EDC be adjusted from the sum already paid to GDA. “The developers have paid GDA for additional FAR when it was increased from 1.5 to 2.5. Besides, the charges levied on account of Metro cess and elevated road cess. Since the high court has termed these charges illegal, we will be asking GDA to recalculate the pending EDC and make adjustment from the amount already paid,” he said.