PUDA decentralised,power spike for six city authorities

The Punjab government has decided to enlarge the jurisdictions of the urban development authorities of Mohali,Ludhiana,Jalandhar,Amritsar,Patiala and Bathinda to cover the entire state...

Written by Harpreet Bajwa | Chandigarh | Published:August 20, 2010 12:46 am

The Punjab government has decided to enlarge the jurisdictions of the urban development authorities of Mohali,Ludhiana,Jalandhar,Amritsar,Patiala and Bathinda to cover the entire state,drastically curtailing the role of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) in development works.

PUDA,which was established in 1995 to “conceptualise and create unique settlements that cater to the social,residential,commercial and industrial needs” of Punjab,will now be only a policy-making body.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today announced his government’s plan to decentralise the process of urban development by expanding the jurisdictions of the city authorities.

The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority will now also look after Ropar,Fatehgarh Sahib and Rajpura in Patiala district. The Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority will look after Moga,Nawanshahr,Ferozepur and Phillaur in Jalandhar district,apart from Ludhiana.

The Jalandhar Development Authority will have jurisdiction over Jalandhar,Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala. The Amritsar Development Authority will cover Amritsar,Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran; the Patiala Development Authority will have jurisdiction over Patiala,Sangrur and Barnala; and the Bathinda Development Authority over Mansa,Muktsar,Faridkot and Ferozepur,apart from Bathinda.

Badal said the city authorities will have charge of changes in land use,licensing of colonies and issuance of completion certificates besides addressing grievances of plot-holders and regulating the process of urban development in their jurisdictions.

The decentralisation will enable officials to focus on cohesive,integrated growth in their areas in a manner that could not have been possible from a central office in Chandigarh catering to the entire state,Badal said.

PUDA was created with urban development as its basic objective,after dissolving the Punjab Housing Board. The weakening of the once-powerful body began in 2006,when GMADA was carved out of it,followed by the other five authorities over the last four years.

“PUDA will now only formulate urban planning policies for the state. It will not be involved in the construction of urban estates and other housing projects,” said a senior government official.

“Construction of urban estates will be controlled by the six urban development authorities. The Chief Administrator,PUDA,will now be Director,Town and Country Planning. This has been done on the same pattern as Haryana,” the official said.

The official said that 700 of PUDA’s 1,000-odd employees are

already on deputation with the six urban development authorities,and PUDA will from now on have only a “very selected number” of employees.

“It has been decided that there will be common cadre for employees of PUDA and the six urban development authorities,so they can be transferred around,” said the official. He said the decentralisation process will also result in a drastic reduction in PUDA’s Rs 21-crore annual salary and contingency bill.

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