Colony licences issued in Sector 83 of Gurgaon are now under scrutiny. Varinder Bhatia explains what the sector meant to real estate players who benefitted under previous government’s 10-yr rule
When was Sector 83, Gurgaon, notified? How much of it was commercial area? How were the licences sought?
The Development Plan of controlled areas of Gurgaon-Manesar was notified in February 2007. As per the sectoral plan of Sector 83, the sector area was 518.20 acres, out of which 126.80 acres were commercial. As per Development Plan-2021, private players could develop up to 50% of the commercial belt, the other 50% was to be developed by government authorities. Developers applied for licences throughout the commercial zone, with the result that the earmarked 50% each were in scattered parcels.
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Who applied for licences in Sector 83?
By March 2008, nine firms had applied for 14 commercial licences: Piccadily Hotels Pvt Ltd, A&D Estates Pvt Ltd, Skylight Hospitality, Uppal Housing Pvt Ltd, SV Housing Pvt Ltd, Trishul Industries, Mark Buildtech Pvt Ltd, Seriatim Land and Housing Pvt Ltd, and DLF Universal Ltd.
How did Shikohpur village become Gurgaon Sector 83?
Consolidation of 2,331 acres of Shikohpur was notified in October 1985; scheme was published in November 2004. In February 2007, the Town and Country Planning Department notified the village as part of urbanisable areas. Consolidation of the village was denotified in March 2008. However, transactions of sale/transfer continued between 2004 and 2008, and 1,117 mutations were sanctioned. The village was again notified in August 2011.
What gains did the major players make?
Five licensees sold for Rs 267.47 crore land purchased for Rs 52.26 crore. In two cases, land was sold at 303 times and 880 times the original price within months of grant of licence. M/s Uppal Housing sold the land to its subsidiary M/s Saumya Realtech Pvt Ltd at Rs 69.50 crore in March 2013. In the case of Robert Vadra’s M/s Skylight Hospitality Pvt Ltd, the land was sold to alleged collaborator M/s DLF Universal Ltd, at 7.73 times the original price after the in-principle approval for transfer of licence was granted (April 2012).
How were licensing rules manipulated?
Value of land increases after licences are granted for commercial colonies. Under Rule 3 of Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Rules, 1976 (the then extant provisions), the owner of the land can apply for licence. As per Rule 17, the developer is not supposed to transfer the licence granted to him under Rule 12 without the Director’s approval. Firms were to set up commercial colonies and derive a maximum net profit of 15% of the total project cost after tax. Net profit beyond 15% was to be deposited with the government within two months. Firms were also required to submit, within 30 days, a CA’s certificate that net profits (after taxes) had not exceeded 15% of the project cost. The CAG said: “To maintain consistency, this should have also been applied in the cases of sale of land by developers without completing the project.”
What will the inquiry now look into?
Mainly, the circumstances under which licences for development of commercial colonies were issued, whether the beneficiaries were eligible for licences, and whether the transfer of licences by the original licensees was legal.