Regularisation of illegal plots: Easier said than done
MOHALI: Special development agencies under the housing department and municipalities across the state have started the process of regularising illegal colonies and plots as per the latest policy for regularisation of unuathorised colonies.
Several issues are cropping up as the officials set in to implement the policy. Independent regularisation of a colony and plots therein is throwing major conflict of opinions among officials. While the regularisation policy dated April this year made mandatory the regularisation of an illegal colony before plots in it could be regularised, the new policy, overruling this, has allowed regularisation of plots and colonies independent of each other. So, for instance, as per the Section 13.3, no electricity connection can be given to a colony the coloniser of which hasn’t applied for regularisation.
But, in such a case, the owner of a regularised plot should be entitled to an electricity connection. Section 13.3 gets violated the moment plots are regularised. Also, plots in colonies falling in the industrial zone can be regularised after taking no-objection certificate (NOC) from Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) subject to the condition that 25% of the plots of the colony shall be built up. It is very difficult for the PPCB officials to ascertain whether a colony fulfill this condition or not in case the coloniser of the colony hasn’t applied for regularisation.
Officials are also jostling with issues of compatibility of provisions of the new regularisation policy and other prevailing laws like Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act (PRTPD), Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act (PAPRA), and RealEstate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA).
ILLEGAL COLONIES AND RERA
The RERA provides for an overarching legal framework for the regulation of the real estate sector. The mainstay of the Act is the establishment of a real estate regulatory authority in a state. Such an authority is already operational in Punjab. Developer of every ongoing and new project has to register with the authority after it gets the requisite approvals and clearances from the state government. The developer also has to comply with the mandatory commitments made under the act, like providing internal developments in a project, timely delivery of possession, maintaining sanctity of sanctioned layout plans, etc.
The current policy for regularisation of illegal colonies makes it compulsory on the coloniser of a regularised colony to register the project with the state RERA, if applicable. As none of these have obtained completion certificate, and so even when regularised must register with the authority.
“There are many complications that come up in this scenario. First being, whether a coloniser will regularise his colony and be willing to come under the ambit of the stringent RERA. Also, as plots and colony can be regularised independently, what happens when the colony isn’t registered with RERA but the plot owners submits his application for regularisation,” asks a senior official of the GM ADA on the condition of anonymity.
The new regularisation policy absolves the coloniser from the responsibility of internal development of a regularised colony. But, under the RERA, the devel- oper or coloniser is accountable for providing the same. “So, in this case will the RERA enforce colonisers responsibility or not?” asks the official.
REGULARISATION AND MASTER PLANS
Master plans have been given highest sanctity under the PR T PD Act and any change in an approved master plan requires approval of the Punjab Regional Town Planning and Development Board.
By their very nature, the illegal colonies in many cases are developed in contravention of the PRTPD Act and violate master plans in most locations across the state.
Under the new policy, any illegal colony, developed in contravention of the master plan, before April 1, 2013 can be regularised. But, in such cases, the approval of the PRTPD board should be taken. “The regularisation policy doesn’t empower the development agencies to amend the master plans, that power rests solely with the PRTPD board. What happens when a illegal colony has come up on master plan sector roads, or in a designated industrial zone?
Now, whether PRTPD approval will be taken in each case is still being debated among senior housing department officers,” says the official.
The issue gets further complicated in case of such a colony is not regularised but a plot owner submits for regularisation.
The new regularisation policy absolves the coloniser from the responsibility of internal development of a regularised colony. But, under the RERA, the developer or coloniser is accountable for providing the same.