THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Chandigarh Administration on a public interest litigation seeking directions to stop giving permissions to raise apartments on residential plots.
A division bench comprising Justices S S Saron and Lisa Gill, while hearing a petition filed by Residents’ Welfare Association of Sector 10, directed the Chandigarh Administration to file its reply by October 17.
Appearing for the petitioner association, senior advocate D S Patwalia submitted that though the residential plots in Chandigarh were meant for single dwelling units, for the past few years it has been observed that in the northern sectors, including Sector 10, apartments were being illegally constructed and sold. It was submitted that it was way back in 2007 when the Apartment Act, 2001, was repealed after protests from city residents against construction of apartments in place of bungalows.
The petitioner association has added that this practice is going to completely destroy the original character of the city as it was in violation of the master plan, bylaws as well as the planning of the City Beautiful. Submitting that such practice is going to result into putting unbearable burden on the city’s infrastructure, the petitioner association was forced to file the public interest litigation after the authorities failed to act against violations. It has been submitted that bylaws do not permit to construct three apartments in a single dwelling unit.
The court was told that the northern sectors of Chandigarh have been planned to accommodate low density of population and if the population and the number of vehicles increase in these sectors, it would amount to converting of green space into parking lots.
It was submitted that initially Chandigarh was divided into two phases wherein the first phase had 30 sectors, including the Capitol Complex and Sector 17 as central business district, and the second phase had sectors from 31 to 47.
Later, the third phase was included comprising sectors 48 to 63. Though as per the master plan, for the first phase, the density was planned 16 persons per acre and for the second phase as 59 persons per acre, as per 2001 census, the density had reached 26 and 60 persons per acre, respectively.