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Punjab Cabinet okays New Policy for construction of over 25,000 houses for Economically Weaker Sections

Chandigarh, February 24, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
The Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday approved a new EWS Policy, paving the way for construction of more than 25000 houses for the economically weaker sections, with developers and authorities required to develop 5% of project area for EWS housing.

These houses would be constructed in reasonably sized pockets, along with social infrastructure, such as schools, community centres and dispensaries, at convenient locations to ensure comfortable living for the beneficiaries. They will be provided access to basic civic amenities.

This decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh through video conferencing.

The houses under the new policy would be constructed with the latest brick-less technology, using services of qualified Project Management Agencies (PMAs). They will be offered to eligible families, who will be financed by banks at affordable monthly instalment rates.

The policy provides for eligible applicants to furnish proof of birth in Punjab or of 10 years’ stay in the state from the date of application, such as Aadhaar card, copy of ration card, extract of voter list, copy of driving license, passport etc.

Family income should not be more than Rs.3 lac per annum from all sources, as revised by GoI or Punjab from time to time. The applicant/his spouse/minor child must not already own freehold/leasehold residential plot/dwelling unit in Punjab or Chandigarh, and the applicant would be required to self-certify on these counts.

The applications will be received and verified by the authorised banks. Only an application for which a Bank provides loan, or applicant undertakes to make lump sum payment within 40 days of issue of letter of intent, would be considered for allotment through draw or otherwise.

Applicant must be married and the application must be in the joint name of husband and wife. There will be bar on sale, gift, mortgage with possession, exchange, long lease of the so allotted EWS dwelling units for a period of 15 years except within the family case of death of allottee.

The government would fix sale price for EWS keeping in view the cost of construction of unit, proportionate cost of site development and common infrastructure such as school, community centre etc. and administrative charges such as PMC, advertisement cost, which would not exceed 5% of the total project cost. Land cost will be taken as zero and there would be exemption from EDC on such EWS projects.

Developers may consolidate their EWS areas in pockets which must be at least 1km apart, be it of 12 to 16 acre in size, in residential zones of SAS Nagar and New Chandigarh Master Plans, on already constructed master plan roads, 5 acre to 16 acre on existing roads with minimum 40 feet right of way in case of rest of Punjab, within 4km of their colonies. Apart from these, the value of area transferred to government and area reclaimed in the colony must be same as per collector rates of the two lands.

It is required that area being offered should not be less than the area being reclaimed, and all EWS land would be transferred to government free of cost. In case of group housing projects, land can be similarly offered such that EWS houses equal to 10% of the number of apartments, can be built on 80% area of land offered @80 units per acre.

Remaining 20% area will be kept for essential amenities/social infrastructure. Developers who have transferred EWS area of their projects to government in compliance to notification dated December 31, 2013 can also take benefit of it by exchanging land given to government, with such new parcels of lands by way of mutation.

Notably, in 2013, Cabinet approved a policy that made it mandatory for developers to transfer the EWS pockets free of cost to government and accordingly a notification was issued on December 31, 2013. Subsequently, in 2016, the said policy was amended by the Cabinet Committee vide notification dated May 24, 2016.

Some developers handed over the possession of the EWS pockets to the respective authorities while few, who had obtained licenses/approvals prior to 2013-14, went to Punjab and Haryana High Court, against retrospective application of the policy of 2013 and subsequent amendment in the Act in 2014 that demanded free transfer of their EWS areas to concerned development authority, while their projects had been approved according to the original Act of 1995 under which they could sell the EWS plots at a sale price that was 15% less than what they would charge from others.

Moreover, there has been general resistance to construct EWS houses within the colonies due to wide variance in life styles necessitated by economic status. It was also felt that provision of social infrastructure in large number of small sized EWS scattered pockets was extremely difficult.

In view of these limitations and legal issues, virtually no EWS houses have come up in the state under the government policy. Finally, to address all these issues and to see that EWS houses are actually built in the state in requisite numbers, the new policy has been framed in accordance with relevant provisions of extant law.

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