The Punjab council of ministers Monday gave its nod for presenting the Bill for regularisation of unauthorised colonies, plots and buildings in the Budget session of the Vidhan Sabha. It also approved an amendment to the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA 2003) for a complete ban on hookah bars in the state. The Cabinet also decided that MBBS doctors will now get their full salaries, including all allowances, during probation period.
The Cabinet gave its go-ahead to two draft amendment Bills to omit Section 2-C of ‘The East Punjab Ministers’ Salaries Act, 1947 and Section 7-A of ‘The Salaries and Allowances of Deputy Ministers, Punjab Act, 1956’. Cabinet ministers, including the Leader of Opposition who has cabinet minister rank, will now pay their own income tax beginning March 2018.
‘The Punjab Laws (Special Provisions for regularisation of unauthorized colony) Bill, 2018’ seeks to provide basic civic amenities like water supply, sewerage, electricity and road connectivity to people living in unauthorised colonies. It will also pave way for formulation of a comprehensive policy for regularisation of such colonies, an official spokesperson said after the meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. There are around 7,000 illegal colonies, the spokesperson said.
The move was also aimed at bringing all the unplanned areas into the planning framework, said the spokesperson. Unauthorised colonies developed before March 19, 2018, shall be regularised, with regularisation charges earlier paid under previous policies to be adjusted, the spokesperson said. However, stringent action will be taken in case of colonies that come up after the cut-off date.