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Posted at: Jan 14, 2018, 1:11 AM; last updated: Jan 14, 2018, 1:11 AM (IST)

Govt to legalise hotels around Golden Temple

Cuts charges to half | Owners say terms too harsh
Govt to legalise hotels around Golden Temple

GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 13

The state government today announced a ‘one-time settlement policy’ against a ‘reasonable’ fine to legalise unauthorised budget hotels and guest houses located around the Golden Temple. But it has not gone down well with the affected proprietors.

They argued that they were not consulted before finalising the policy which appears to be designed to benefit a handful of such units.

Local Bodies, Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu announced the government’s move to fix the penalty amount to half of what was proposed by the previous SAD-BJP government.

Sidhu claimed that if the conditions given are fulfilled, the move would benefit at least 215 budget hospitality units.

The applicants will have to furnish the structural safety, fire safety and parking norms prescribed under the National Building Code 2016. The cut-off date for furnishing those is January 31.

“The structural safety certificate will have to be procured in advance from designated institutes like IITs, PEC (Chandigarh), Thapar University (Patiala), NIT (Jalandhar), GNE (Ludhiana) and GZSCET (Bathinda). Parking space has to be provided within the hotel or guest houses and if not possible, alternative parking facility within a radius of 200m has to be there,” he said.

Federation of Amritsar Hotel and Restaurant Association president Surinder Singh said that the penalty amount might have been reduced, but the conditions imposed in the policy would disqualify 80 per cent of the buildings.

“Most of the buildings in question cannot be placed under the compoundable clause due to their old topography. So, this policy will never be applicable to them. As per the court directions, the policy was supposed to be framed after taking all of us into confidence for an amicable solution, but we were never given an opportunity to put across our point of view,” he said.

There are hundreds of hotels and guest houses running for decades in the narrow lanes of Hall Gate, Ram Bagh, Mahan Singh Gate, Sheranwala Gate, Ghee Mandi Gate, Sultanwind Gate, Chattiwind Gate and Hathi Gate.

Due to the violation of floor area ratio (FAR), the height of most buildings will be beyond the permissible limit. “We have just received a copy of the policy and will soon revert to the authorities to liberalise its conditions,” he said.

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