IN A ray of hope for industrialists of Chandigarh, the Ministry of Urban Development has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs, asking it to act on the long-pending demand of converting leasehold plots to freehold ones. The issue is now expected to be sorted out within a few months. Sources said MHA has been told by the MoUD that the Chandigarh residents may not be deprived of this right and action may be taken immediately. An intimation of the same was sent to the Chandigarh administration as well. MP Kirron Kher had been pursuing this issue with the Centre since long.
President of Industries Association of Chandigarh President Arun Mahajan, said he got to know about this development on Saturday evening. “At least there has been some development in all these years. We had no hope at all. We have been raising this demand for years,” said Mahajan. Affecting more than 1,500 leasehold industrial plots of the 2,100 plots in all, the industrialists had been demanding the conversion of leasehold industrial plots into freehold property in Industrial Area, phases I and II, as it would help revive industry apart from generate one-time revenue in the form of conversion fee. On the lines of Delhi, the industrialists have been demanding conversion of their leasehold plots on the basis of fixed rates for the original owners and holders of general power of attorney (GPA).
It was in 1970 that Phase I and Phase II of the Industrial Area were carved out on 1,475 acres. These two phases have 2100 small-scale, one large and seven medium-scale industrial units. The sites were originally allotted on leasehold basis on a 99-year lease to which industrialists and plot owners have demanded that they should be converted into freehold sites.