Centre irked over Punjab’s slow pace on public reforms

The state government has drawn flak from the Centre for slow implementation of proposed public reforms in urban areas in the state...

Written by Gautam Dheer | Chandigarh | Published: February 10, 2009 11:46 pm

The state government has drawn flak from the Centre for slow implementation of proposed public reforms in urban areas in the state,including levy of user charges on urban consumers and reforms in the Rent Control Act. These reforms were to be implemented during this current fiscal,which now seems unlikely even as senior officials are hoping to put in place at least some of these reforms in time.

As the financial year nears its close,the state government has reported no progress on these reforms,neither has any information being supplied to the Union government on completion of these amendments within the financial year. A official communiqué by Joint Secretary P.K. Srivastava of the Union Ministry of Urban Development has found Punjab lacking on these fronts.

The state government was to introduce reforms in the Rent Control Act,enact the Community Participation Law and the Public Disclosure Law by the end of the current fiscal,the progress on which is far below the mark. Reforms pertaining to transfer of city planning functions were also to be introduced,which also may not see the light of the day in the scheduled time-frame.

Sources in the government said that the reforms in Rent Control Act were planned for smooth vacation of commercial housing units upon conclusion of the tenancy period. The idea was to bring down growing litigation,property disputes in urban areas,said sources. Enactment of the Community Participation Law was to empower the civil society,industry and businesses with their involvement in affairs of municipal bodies,the implementation of which is behind schedule,said officials.

The Public Disclosure Act pertains to public screening or revision of municipal budget proposals. The government,however,contends that the process has been set rolling and some progress has been made on the projects mentioned by the Union Ministry.

A senior official,talking to The Indian Express today,said,“The Bill for Rent Control Act is awaiting notification. The Public Disclosure Law is awaiting final vetting from the legal department. Some steps have also been initiated for transfer of the city plan.” The official added that some of the urban reforms,out of the total 23,have already been put in place. “Some states have set a 2012 deadline for completion of these projects. The previous government agreed for the 2009 deadline,which is causing the problem,” he said.

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