Instead of implementing an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court given last year regarding restricting construction close to scheduled roads and bypasses,the state government has decided to amend the law,and regularise encroachments along these stretches througout the state. The Sections 3 and 6 of the Punjab Scheduled Roads and Controlled Areas Restriction of Unregulated Development Act,1963 (Act No. 41 of 1963),which restrict the erection of structures within 30 metres of the scheduled roads and 100 metres along the bypasses,were recently amended by the state government in the name of providing relief to the public at large.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court,which has been monitoring the case in CWP No. 4559 of 2007,had directed the state authorities to take action in this regard in orders dated March 13 and August 18,2008. However,instead of taking action as per the court order,the government amended the aforesaid sections of the Act by way of promulgation of an ordinance by the Governor on January 3,a few months ahead of the elections.
A meeting under the chairmanship of the state Financial Commissioner,Town and Country Planning,was held to discuss the matter on January 1,2009. According to the minutes of the meeting,a copy of which is with Newsline,the director,Town and Country Planning,Haryana,informed the members that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI),the PWD (B & R) and District Town Planners had detected a large number of unauthorised constructions along the scheduled roads and bypasses in the state.
Action against the unauthorised constructions has caused panic among the affected persons and representations have been received in this regard, the minutes mention. The Financial Commissioner added the government now intends to provide relief to the public at large and has decided to regularise the unauthorised constructions along the scheduled roads/bypasses on payment of the prescribed fee.
The director of the Town and Country Planning department shot off letters to all senior town planners and district town planners in,informing them of the move and asking them to carry out a survey to identify all such constructions along the roads/bypasses and get these videographed. The letter maintains that January 3,2009,has been fixed as the cut-off date that is buildings which have come up before this date are to be regularised. The details for the regularisation of such buildings are being worked out. However,it is necessary to freeze the constructions raised till January 3, it reads.
The survey and videography to identify the unauthorised constructions existing before the cut-off date is in full swing.
The decision to regularise such commercial establishments will not only save employment but also the revenue. Were not encouraging such activities but only protecting establishments which have already come up when there was no urbanisation plan, said a senior official in the District Town Planning department in Gurgaon.
Meanwhile,when contacted,officials with the NHAI told Newsline that they are yet to receive a copy of the order.