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Quest for ownership certificate: Days become months, long hunt for a file, then re-applying again

Even entry to the estate office building is now possible only by online appointment, which takes around 10-12 days. Interestingly, you need an online appointment every time you go to check the status of your file being delayed by officials themselves.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
February 11, 2021 9:49:37 am
Files stored at the UT Estate Office in Chandigarh. (Express Photo)

“SHUKAR KARO file upar nahi gayi nahi to aur time lagta,” was the terse reply of an official in group 7 room of the estate office, when told that the file of ownership certificate has been stuck there since last year.

Nothing is easy in this office. Even entry to the estate office building is now possible only by online appointment, which takes around 10-12 days. Interestingly, you need an online appointment every time you go to check the status of your file being delayed by officials themselves.

On a cold winter day, people ignorant of these new rules of entry were being returned from the entrance itself. Helplessness writ large on their faces, they give lie to the UT Administration’s claims of being most people-friendly.

The Indian Express tracked the case of a Sector 30 resident Reshan Singh who had applied for an ownership certificate in October last year. This correspondent accompanied their architect Gurveer Channie. The work was supposed to be completed in 7 days, but it has been several months now. Ownership certificate is a prerequisite for obtaining occupation certificate from the SDO building, where most cases linger on for years.

In this case, when you enter the group 7 room on the first floor, you are greeted by bundles of files everywhere. Even the corridor is full of them. The online system shows that despite application submission in October, the file began to move only on December 24, 2020.

The clerk tries in vain to find it and then heads to a colleague’s table. Finally, he finds it dumped under other files. The online system shows that the file had reached his table on February 1, but he decided to look at it only after a visit by the applicant.

“You have to clear the dues, I will prepare the letter right now,” he says.

When asked about the long delay, he snaps. “Is se upar kya seva karun mere pass 3 bandon ka kaam hai…digitisation alag…banda kya karega…shukar karo file upar nahi gayi nahi to aur time lagta (How do I do more than this? I have work of three people apart from digitisation work…you should be thankful that the file has not gone to officials senior to me or it would have taken more time).”

When the correspondent asked the clerk for a way out, he said that after the dues are cleared, the applicant will have to give a fresh application because three months have lapsed. And the file will again move through the same channels with a noting now that the dues have been cleared. And it will again take months. If it takes more than three months, the owner will have to reapply again.

“Ownership and dues calculations are both linked to completion and approval of any property. The estate office normally claims to do the needful in seven days. But no letter is issued even after months and with entry to the office becoming more difficult, the entire procedure has become more time-consuming,” said Channie.

Waving a hand, he sighs, “The worst part is that no one is accountable, no one takes responsibility for the delay.”

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