14 Noida hotel projects run into PIL roadblock
Fourteen hotel projects in Noida have run into a roadblock with the Allahabad High Court admitting a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking an explanation of the land allotments. The PIL, filed by Ghaziabad resident and advocate R.K. Yadav, alleges the allotments were made at a throwaway price of Rs 7,400 per square metre, causing a loss of over Rs 3,000 crore to the Authority. Appearing for the Authority, advocate Anurag Khanna countered the charge by telling the two-member bench that the allotments were done keeping the Commonwealth Games 2010 in mind. The next date of hearing is July 13.
In a related development, the Sub-Registrar's Office has impounded the registry papers of the hotel sites for shortage of stamp duty, as the department felt commercial rates should be levied for calculation of duty for hotel sites. Sub Registrar M.K. Saxena told HT, "The hotel allottees had levied stamp duty on the allotment amount, which was at the industrial sector rate of Rs 7,400 per square metre. We treat hotels as commercial establishments and have asked for stamp duty at the rate of Rs 70,000 per square metre."
Land for hotel sites in Noida was earlier allotted under the commercial category. The government then put hotels under the industry category and the Authority floated a scheme for hotel allotments on October 17 last year. The scheme was for 25 hotel sites. Allotment was at fixed industrial rates as per the hotel policy terms. In January this year, the authority allotted 14 hotel sites - nine five-star, two four-star and three three-star hotel sites -to different companies or consortia.
Sources said the Authority has given on-paper possession to the allottees after submission of lease deed on the basis of counter slips. This practice is followed by the Authority in all cases of allotment. As per the lease deed, the allottees shall begin construction within six months of date of possession; the construction must be complete by December 2009 and the hotels functional by June 2010. Failure to comply may result in the deed being revoked and deposited amount forfeited.
Authority Project Engineer (Building Cell) Sodan Singh said, "Hotel allottees have not submitted their building plans yet. They have enough time to get the plans approved and start construction.”