The Ministry of Urban Development is set to increase the penalty for those overstaying in some of the 60,000-odd government properties in Delhi.
Currently, all such unauthorised occupants in the bungalows of Lutyens’ Delhi, the type VII and VIII accommodation that is allotted to ministers, senior politicians and judges, have to pay a monthly fine amount that is 55 times the licence fee. There are roughly 15,000 such properties in Lutyens’ Delhi. For the lower grade accommodation of type I to type VII, it is between 40 to 50 times.
The Urban Development Ministry, which manages all such properties, will soon revise its General Pool Residential Allotment rules so as to effect a 10 per cent incremental penalty over and above the existing penalty every subsequent month.
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The present shortage of government accommodation is estimated to be a staggering 48,500 houses. Ministry sources said the need for an upward revision was felt as several continue to stay on in their official accommodation by paying the penalty. This is because the base licence fee itself is so minimal that it still works out to be cheaper as compared to renting a similar prime accommodation in Delhi.
Ministry officials said that of the 5,000-odd allotments that are made on an annual basis, at least 10 to 12 per cent tend to overstay with eviction proceedings often dragging on in the court. In some cases, eviction proceedings are not initiated considering high-profile occupants. For instance, there are 27 eminent artists whose descendants continue to occupy the property decades after the artists passed away. Despite the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation ruling last year that in some cases eviction process should start off immediately, no action has been initiated yet.
Under the revised rules, penalty is also proposed to be hiked for damage to the property caused by unauthorised occupants or those illegally subletting their premises. “The fine levied in such cases will be double the licence fee amount every month,” said an official. Also, the extra period, for which an allottee is allowed to retain accommodation before eviction proceedings are initiated, will be changed to six months against the earlier eight months.