Chandigarh to go ahead with industrial plots’ conversion

Chandigarh, Dec 15 (IANS) Having failed to get a central government response even five years after it sought permission to convert industrial plots from leasehold to freehold system, the Chandigarh administration Monday announced it will go ahead with the change in land use.

The sanction for allowing conversion from leasehold to freehold was sought by the administration for industrial plots in 2003 but no reply has been received from the central government so far, administration officials said here.

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Chandigarh – the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana – is a centrally administered union territory (UT). It falls under the ambit of the ministry of home affairs (MHA).

The move will affect 1,540 industrial sites of different sizes in the city’s industrial area phases I and II. The sites were originally allotted on leasehold basis on a 99 years’ lease. Industrialists and plot owners have been demanding that the leasehold be converted into freehold sites.

“The matter was sent to the government of India for reference in the year 2003, but since no reply was received even after five years, the UT administration has decided to allow conversion of lease-hold industrial sites into free-hold tenure,” a senior official said here.

“The process for drafting rules in this regard has already started and will be completed soon. Suggestions would be taken from the representatives of various associations of industries before taking a decision,” Chandigarh’s Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar said.

The need to allow conversion of lease-hold industrial plots to freehold was felt more after the administration allowed industrial plots to be converted into commercial areas like malls, multiplexes, hotels and other services.

The city does not have a very big industrial base and most sites have been converted into commercial ventures like showrooms for vehicle dealerships.

The majority of the residential and industrial plots here were originally given on leasehold basis. The residential plots were later converted to freehold while the decision in case of industrial plots got delayed.