Learning from a recent Himachal High Court judgment that overruled HP Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act, 2016 to regularise encroachments, Punjab Cabinet Wednesday deferred an ordinance being brought to regularise unauthorised colonies.
When the agenda was tabled, several ministers raised the issue that the previous Congress government in Himachal Pradesh had to face embarrassment when the state’s high court over ruled their Act and Punjab Cabinet should avoid any such situation and the ordinance should first be studied from all angles after considering the legality.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh then set up a five-member Cabinet sub-committee to finalise the legislation and policy for regularisation of unauthorised colonies. The policy is aimed at provision of basic amenities to the residents of these areas.
The sub-committee, headed by Health Minister Brahm Mahindra, with Finance Minister Manpreet Badal, Local Government Minister Navjot Sidhu, Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Rural Development Minister Tript Rajinder Bajwa as its members, will submit its report in 30 days. Besides finalising the legislation and the policy, the sub-committee will also fix composition fee rates for regularisation of the unauthorised residential colonies falling under various categories.
There are 6700 illegal colonies in Punjab. The previous government had regularised several number of such colonies in the past but a huge number mushroomed again. The illegal colonies contribute to haphazard growth of residential areas.
A government statement after the cabinet said the unplanned areas would be brought in the planning framework with the proposed legislation, thus facilitating basic amenities for the citizens of these colonies and better quality of life for them. In another decision, the Cabinet approved the appointment of Ajitesh Kaushal, an international rifle shooter of repute, as a sub-inspector in Punjab Police.
Ajitesh Kaushal has so far won 85 medals in ‘shooting’ at state, national and international levels. He is a classified ‘A’ grade sportsman of the Punjab Sports Department and was earlier rewarded Rs 5.22 lakh in cash for his exceptional performances. Ajitesh’s father, Rakesh Kaushal, is a PPS officer, at present posted as the Commandant of 3rd Battalion at Mohali. Rakesh Kaushal had been on the forefront in the fight against terrorism in Punjab, said a statement by the government.