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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

As Noida turns 43, residents yearn for free hold rights over their houses

Noida turns 43 on Wednesday. The Uttar Pradesh government had established the city on April 17, 1976 under the UP Industrial Act-1976.

noida Updated: Apr 17, 2019 16:14 IST
Vinod Rajput
Vinod Rajput
Hindustan Times, Noida
The New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) was established on April 17, 1976.
The New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) was established on April 17, 1976.(Sunil Ghosh / HT Photo )

At 43 years, Noida has come of age. It took the city nearly four decades to change its character from an industrial town to a city of low-rise residential units in the shadow of the densely-populated national capital to becoming a preferred destination for the middle class to realise their dream of having a dwelling unit in the NCR. However, residents’ dreams of getting ownership rights over their property still remain elusive.

Noida turns 43 on Wednesday. The Uttar Pradesh government had established the city on April 17, 1976 under the UP Industrial Act-1976. This means that the Noida authority was given the power to allot land – be it residential, industrial, institutional or other category – on leasehold basis for 90 or 99 years. Residents, realtors or industrialists do not have ownership for lifetime, as in the case of Ghaziabad or Delhi. In layman’s language, lease deed holders are but tenants of the Noida authority.

Residents are worried about the leasehold status of their property as it spells much hassle for to the property owner. While under the freehold system, an allottee has outright ownership of the property, making its transfer and sale easier, under the leasehold system the government has control over the sale or transfer of a property. Moreover, as per the leasehold system, the owner has the right to call the property his or hers for only 90 years — not forever.

Residents of Noida have been demanding right to freehold so that they enjoy ownership title of their property for a lifetime. Even after countless protests, demand letters and even various political parties including the demand of giving freehold status in their manifestoes in successive elections, the dream of ownership remains elusive.

“As Noida turns 43, I am worried about my children because in leasehold property, transferring ownership from father to son or daughter is very difficult. Freehold property gets easily transferred to children without the owner paying any fee. In leasehold status, the authority has control and it levies hefty transfer charges. Also, the owner has to grease the palms to transfer the property,” Vipin Malhan, president of Noida entrepreneurs association (NEA), a body for industrialists, said.

The NEA, however, wants that the conversion from lease hold to freehold is done sooner than later.

“The biggest disadvantage of leasehold is that the property that had been bought 40 years ago by me will give the right to the allottee to use it for only the remaining 50 or 59 years. It means my children will face issues after 50 years. The government should address this issue because we have made lifetime investments in this city,” Malhan said.

Under pressure from residents, the Noida authority had, on November 1, 2018 approved a proposal in its board meeting to change the status of property from leasehold to freehold. However, it is yet to be implemented.

“The authority has sent the proposal to UP government for final approval. It is up to the government to take a final call on it,” Rajesh Kumar, officer on special duty, Noida authority, said.

Residents said they shifted to Noida with the hope that one day the property will become freehold. “I bought a house in Noida in 1998 with the hope that I will enjoy facilities in a well-planned industrial town. But even after 43 of the city, Noida faced huge civic issues – sewers are choked, sanitation facilities are extremely poor, traffic congestion is common problem and population is rising at an alarming rate. The government must look into these issues immediately. Freehold is a longstanding demand of all citizens. We hope it will be worked out now,” AN Dhawan, secretary general of federation of Noida resident welfare associations, said.

First Published: Apr 17, 2019 16:14 IST

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