Governor gives ascent to controversial HPTCP amendment Act

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    Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat today gave ascent to the controversial Town and Country Planning Regularization Amendment Act to compensates nearly 13000 unauthorized constructions on demand of ruling Congress and BJP in the hill state. The Rajbhavan Sources confirmed that Mr. Vrat today singed the bill pending before him for last five months however Governor passed the bill after getting written assurance from the State that it would would further amend the legislation if it found contradiction to the Constitutional proviso or in-ambiance to with High Court observations and verdicts regarding unauthorized constructions.

     

    The Governor also had raised eyebrow on the silence of legislations about structural safety of buildings to be regularized under the amendments and lack of action against the errant or guilty officers who are or were responsible for allowing to come up such unauthorized construction in violation to the prevailing TCP Act. The legislation was cleared during Monsoon session last year before it was send to Legislative Select Committee and the bill was brought in the House on Feb 20, 2016 .

     

    The Assembly had given nod to the HP Town and Country Planning (HPTCP Amendment) Bill, 2016 on Aug 28, 2016. which was brought to  provide a chance to the public to regularize their buildings. The Governor on Jan 01 this year had sought some clarification from the State as he found it in conflict to some constitutional proviso and observations and decisions of the High Court.

     

    With ascent of Governor today legislation became HPTCP Act 2016 would be covering the entire State. The State have brought retention policies five occasions earlier was confined to Shimla however this Act would cover the entire State. The Act amends principal Act of HPTCP 1977 would regularise as many as 12,694 unauthorised construction in notified Planning areas of the State. The Act included the provision to regularized all construction on ‘as is where is basis’, however, no unsafe building would be regularized in the State.

     

    All the un-authorized buildings would be regularized along with the serial number of application. It empower the civic bodies in Municipal area to charge regularization fee relaxing it from Rs 800 per square meters to Rs 400 per square meters, however compounding fee remained unchanged. The Act has special provision for a specific period of one year as a ‘one time’ exemption by charging deterrent composition fee instead of demolition of such large scale un-authorised constructions.

     

    The  Act would also help to regularise unauthorised constructions upto 70 per cent deviation. The ACT would not only earned the revenue for state exchequer but provide major relief to violators in notified Planning areas of the State. The Act would also replace the Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 promulgated  on Jun 9 2016. The ordinance exemption would not applicable for deviations in the green area and heritage area as defined in the notified Development Plan and House owners, who have availed benefit once earlier under any retention policy or sought earlier relaxations, would not be eligible.

     

    Deviations would be measured at each floor and parking floors, if converted to any other use like residence or shop, will not be regularised. The regularisation fee for commercial, hotel, tourism and industrial uses will increase by 100 per cent. For those falling under the Below Poverty Line and Economically Weaker Sections, the regularisation fee will be decreased to 50 to 75 percent. TCP Department have got more than 3800 applications to regularized their construction as people had applied with in 45 days of issuing ordinance and it was applicable till Jul 29, 2016.

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    ML Verma is a Senior journalist, with more than a decade of experience of active reporting for electronic media, news agencies and fast paced online media.

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