Cabinet to seal fate of illegal colonies in Punjab today
Draft policy to be tabled before council of ministers; no clearance without minister’s nod.punjab Updated: Mar 19, 2018 10:11 IST
All files relating to illegal colonies will be referred to the minister concerned or a ‘politically elected set up’ for a final call, a cabinet sub-committee of five ministers resolved in its fourth meeting on Friday last week.
The committee has been tasked with finalising a policy on 8,000 illegal colonies in the state and any decision will impact lakhs of residents. Significantly, the Congress had made a pre-poll promise to regularise all colonies built before March 31, 2013.
Sub-committee members Brahm Mohindra (as chairman), Manpreet Singh Badal, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Charanjit Singh Channi have reached a consensus on the issue. The suggestion for giving the final authority, in giving clearance to an illegal colony, to the politically elected set up came from Channi. “The matter cannot be left entirely to the executive,” he said.
Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh holds the charge of housing and urban development under whose jurisdiction 4,500 illegal colonies fall. Another 3,500 such colonies are under the local bodies department with Sidhu as the minister.
“The draft policy till be tabled in Monday’s cabinet meeting,” said additional chief secretary (housing) Vinni Mahajan. After the cabinet clears it, the process to regularise these colonies would begin, she added.
It was brought in the policy that owners of dwelling units in illegal colonies policy be asked to get maps approved from the civic body under whose jurisdiction the colony falls, or the Punjab Urban Development Authority (Puda).
Civic bodies and Puda will also conduct surveys to know how many dwelling units are built up in these colonies.
A senior state government officer privy to the details of the meeting, said, “It was discussed that as an estimate, the state government could raise at least Rs 100 crore through map approvals. An illegal colony with fixed boundary and a 200 feet wide approach road will get clearance”.
The last meeting of the sub-committee on February 8 was deferred with a proposal to impose heavy penalties on promoters of illegally built colonies. In the latest meeting, the sub-committee decided to provide some respite and impose nominal penalties.
A cabinet minister, part of the meeting, told HT on condition of anonymity, that the sub-committee resolved that no colony built in 2018 be regularised, and that the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act (PAPRA), 1995, be amended to include stricter punishment.