The Haryana cabinet recently approved a policy to give validity to thousands of residential plots in urban municipal areas of the state, which were illegally used for commercial purposes for the last five decades.
The Haryana Municipal Urban Built-Plan Reform Policy would allow owners to convert the use of plots from residential to commercial retrospectively and prospectively. It would also help municipal bodies to manage and regulate the conversion with the upgradation of infrastructure by generating revenue from such conversions. The policy, officials said, was much needed in the wake of large-scale illegal commercial conversions of residential plots in the last 50 years and was in the public interest. However, the policy being prospective in effect would encourage future violations. Hitender Rao takes a closer look.
Who would be the beneficiaries of the policy?
Residential property owners in municipal areas under the Model Town Scheme, the Rehabilitation Scheme, the Improvement Trust Scheme, the Town Planning Scheme and any other planned scheme developed in the last 50 years.
Which areas would not be covered by the policy?
Sectors developed by the Haryana Urban Development Authority, the Haryana Housing Board, the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation, and areas where licenses were granted by the Town and Country Planning Department.
Will the building parameters allowed to be altered?
No. Parameters such as floor area ratio, ground coverage, and plot height will remain consistent with the original residential scheme. The building line of the original scheme will also be maintained. A ‘no objection’ from neighbouring plot owners is also required for considering the conversion.
What’s the justification taken by the Council of Ministers while approving the regularisation policy?
Since many owners of residential plots had illegally changed the use of plots from residential to non-residential commercial use over time, the state government felt that considering the changing needs and demands of the people, it was necessary to regulate such conversions by prescribing norms and methodology for the same.
What kind of legal backing does the reform policy have?
The state government amended two municipal laws last December to include the expression ‘core area’.
What’s a core area?
It means a built-up area within the municipal limit planned or developed 50 years before the coming into force of the amendments and which due to urbanisation and efflux of time required replanning of land use and also included the built-up area of the village population.
What was the aim behind bringing the expression “core area”?
Prima facie to improve planning and infrastructure and resolve the issues faced by the built areas. However, it entailed permitting the conversion of residential plots in planned schemes or core areas for commercial activity without changing the sanctity of the planned area or core area.
What would entail a commercial activity?
Shops, showrooms, clinics, restaurants, cafeterias, bank branches, convenience stores, and consultancy offices for non-nuisance consultancy services provided by architects, doctors and advocates.
How much would it cost to regularise such properties?
Owners would pay a scrutiny fee of ₹10 per square metre, conversion charges and development charges of 5% of the commercial collector rate (per square metre), and a composition fee of ₹160 per square metre on only the converted area.
How will municipal bodies go about the regularization exercise?
Conduct surveys of all planned schemes and identify illegal commercial conversions using global information system maps and ground truthing.
What would happen if owners of illegally converted plots did not apply for conversion?
Municipal bodies would restore the building or plot to its original status, carry out the demolition to bring it in conformity with parameters and cancel permissions for running the business on the property.
Would a penalty be imposed for carrying out nuisance activity?
No penal charges for six months from the notification of the policy. If the property owner did not apply for regularisation, then penal charges at the rate of ₹10 per square metre per day shall be levied after 6 months.