In a major development, the state Cabinet headed by Vijay Rupani Wednesday gave its approval to a proposal to reverse a significant statutory amendment related to the timely completion of Town Planning (TP) schemes in the state effected by the Anandiben Patel government.
Sources said that following the approval of the Cabinet, the government is likely to bring in an ordinance to amend Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development (GTPUD) Act, 1976.
The provision is related to Section 51 of the GTPUD Act which stipulates duties of Town Planning Officer (TPO) with reference to the completion of a TP Scheme. Section 51 of the Act reads: “Within a period of twelve months from the date of his appointment, the Town Planning Officer shall, after following the prescribed procedure, sub-divide the town planning scheme into a preliminary scheme and a final scheme: [Provided that the state government may, from time to time, by order in writing, extend the said period by such further period or periods as may be specified in the order and any such order extending the period may be made so as to have retrospective effect.]”
A senior officer said, “According to the original provision, a TPO had to complete the TP scheme within 12 months. But it also had a provision, giving powers to the state government to extend the term for ‘n’ number of time.”
“Around one-and-a-half-years back, the Anandiben Patel government had changed this provision by putting a deadline of 18 months for the TPO to complete the TP scheme, failing which the TPO’s appointment was deemed to be null and void,” the officer added.
However, the officer said that the Rupani cabinet Wednesday gave its approval to “restore” the original provision which means that the TPO’s appointment can be extended for as long as the government wants.
Sources said that the reason behind the move was the realisation that the government will not be able to comply with it. “A number of TPOs in Gujarat are not likely to meet the deadline,” sources added.
Now, since the monsoon session of Gujarat Legislative Assembly got over only last month, the government is likely to bring in an ordinance to reverse the Anandiben Patel government’s decision. The ordinance will be sent to the Governor for his approval after which it will come into effect.