In the face of reservations from some ministers and legislators, including cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Punjab cabinet on Monday gave its approval to a new policy framed to regularise illegal colonies.
The approval was granted to unauthorised colonies developed before March 19, 2018, an official spokesperson said on Monday.
“With a view to curbing the mushroom growth of unplanned and haphazard constructions across the state, the Cabinet on Monday cleared a policy for regularization of unauthorized colonies and plots/buildings falling in unauthorized colonies,” the spokesperson said.
As per the policy, any developer, Resident Welfare Association (RWA) or a cooperative society can apply for the regularisation.
“However, in case of plots, compounding of colony is not mandatory for regularization of plots and plot owners can directly apply for regularization,” the spokesperson said.
The policy would be applicable to the entire state, including municipal limits falling under the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1952, but shall not be applicable to the rest of the periphery area. This policy shall also not be applicable to the colonies having apartments,” the spokesperson said.
“The developer would be given four months to apply for regularization under this policy. After the expiry of this period, a timeline of three months would be given to the authorities concerned for finding unauthorized colonies,” the spokesman said.
A penalty of 20 per cent of regularization fee would be imposed if the applicant applies for regularization after the expiry of time. However, any applicant who fails to apply under this policy would be penalized under the relevant provisions of the law,” he added.
The spokesperson said that civil or criminal proceedings, if any, against the colonizers may be suspended after receiving 25 per cent of the composition charges.
However, these proceedings would be withdrawn only after final regularization of the colonies. “All charges for regularization colonies and plots shall be as per the previous policy, notified on April 20, 2018,” he added.
The revenue thus collected from the process of regularization of unauthorized colonies/plots would be utilized for providing basic civic amenities to the residents of those colonies, the spokesperson said.
The policy was, earlier this month, approved by a Group of Ministers (GoM) of the PunjabAgovernment despite reservations over the issue.
Colonizers and property dealers had welcomed the new policy being brought in by the Punjab government and assured that in future no colonizer would develop a colony in an illegal manner.
In the past couple of decades, a number of illegal colonies, which did not have prior approval and were not part of urban planning, sprung up in all cities and towns across Punjab with authorities looking the other way.
Thousands of families had built houses and settled in these illegal colonies and removing them from is practically impossible for the government.
The regularization of these colonies will help them to get access to facilities such as authorized power and water supply, sewerage and roads.