Can’t benefit colonisers who robbed govt: Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh on Policy

Chandigarh, July 18: Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday went ballistic in a meeting of Group of Ministers here, questioning the rationale behind bringing in a draft of The Punjab Laws (Special Provisions for Regularisation Authorised Colony) Bill, 2018, which, he claimed, would benefit only colonisers and rob the government of its resources.

Much to the discomfort of the ministers, Sidhu, supported by Animal Husbandary Minister Balbir Sidhu, is learnt to have said that the draft policy, if implemented “as it is”, would stall the planned urban development for years to come.

Most others – Housing Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Revenue Minister Sukhbinder Sarkaria, Food and Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Industry Minister Sunder Sham Arora and PWD Minister Vijay Inder Singla — reportedly approved the draft, saying “it is practical”.

Sidhu said only those colonies where houses had been built should be regularised to benefit people.

Continuing with his objections for almost an hour, Sidhu reportedly argued that colonies had come up on choes and violated fire safety norms. “If internal and external development charges are to be calculated, it works to Rs 70 lakh per acre. But the draft talks of just Rs 5 lakh-Rs 20 lakh per acre as compounding fee. This means that the Local Bodies Department will be burdened with the liability of providing services to the colonies by spending Rs 25,000 crore,” he said.

Sources said as soon as the draft policy was presented by Bajwa, most of the ministers approved it. It was decided that the coloniser opting for regularisation would have to show the registration of sale deeds in the names of plot holders within three months.

The Local Bodies Department had objected to the Housing Department fixing a charge of Rs 3 lakh per acre for regularising the illegally obtained sewerage connections by linking the colony’s sewerage with that of the local body concerned. It has now been decided that the urban local body would fix the charges and this would not be a part of the policy.

When contacted, Bajwa said the policy would be taken to the Cabinet in its next meeting for final approval.

Source Tribune India