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Punjab’s nod to 85th Amendment
New Chandigarh periphery policy approved
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The decks have been cleared for the implementation of the 85th Amendment in Punjab as the state Council of Ministers, which met here today, gave its approval to the constitutional provision.

The Amendment will be implemented from the day a notification is issued in this connection. It will have no effect on the existing appointments and promotions and will be applicable to future recruitment and promotions. Its operation will be subject to the final decision of the Supreme Court, where a writ petition, through which the Amendment was challenged, is pending.

The state government has been dithering with regard to the implementation of the Amendment for the past two years because a strong lobby of employees and a section of the ministers were opposing it. An equally strong lobby of Dalit ministers and employees has been putting pressure on the government to implement the Amendment. As the Assembly elections are nearing, the state government decided to enforce it, obviously to win the support of Dalit employees in the poll.

With the implementation of the Amendment, there will be benefit in promotions and seniority to the reserved categories of employees. The seniority of the promoted employees in the reserved categories will be counted from the date of their promotion and not from that of their recruitment in the feeder cadre. For instance, if a reserved category employee is promoted from a Class II post to a Class I post, his or her seniority in Class I service will be counted from the day he was promoted. However, the general category employees opposing it have been arguing that seniority should be considered from the day one had joined service.

After the meeting of the council, Capt Amarinder Singh, who presided over it, said all other Congress governments in the country had implemented this Amendment. “We have got information in this regard from Andhra Pradesh and other states which have implemented it,” he added.

Taking another important decision, the council approved the new periphery policy which will be based on the report submitted to the council by a committee headed by the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill. The council also approved the draft of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control (Amendment) Bill, 2005, which is expected to be passed in the December session of the Punjab Assembly.

Through the Bill, the government would fix development and conversion charges for the buildings in the periphery.

Capt Amarinder Singh said that development and conversion charges would be well within the reach of common people settled in Punjab areas on the periphery of the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

While approving the new periphery policy, the government decided to allow 60 per cent increase in the “lal dora” of the villages and towns in the Punjab area covered by the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act. While permission for construction in the enhanced "lal dora" limit in towns will be given by the municipal bodies concerned, in villages there will be no need for such permission.

However, the new boundary of the "lal dora" will be fixed and notified in villages by the revenue authorities concerned in consultation with the Punjab Urban Development and Planning authorities. No one will be allowed to construct any building or structure in the periphery area covered under various forest Acts and the Punjab Land Preservation Act.

All existing buildings and structures will be regularised. Only mega housing projects of 100 acres would be approved in the periphery. However, there will no restriction on building institutions like schools and hospitals. Farmhouses spread over 2.5 acres would be allowed with permission to bring 4 per cent of the area under construction.

Capt Amarinder Singh said the new policy had been introduced to stop the haphazard growth of townships on the periphery. " The policy will ensure the planned growth of urban settlements in the area," he added.

The council also gave its clearance for the restoration, conservation, upkeep, maintenance and use of Quila Nabha through public- private participation. It also approved the constitution of an empowered committee to facilitate the agro-processing industry in Punjab under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister.

The transfer of 19 bus terminals (at Moga, Muktsar, Zira, Ferozepore, Dera Baba Nanak, Nawanshahr, Jagraon, Nangal, Hoshiarpur, Pathankot, Fazilka, Roopnagar, Anandpur Sahib, Mohali, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Mukerian and Tarn Taran) was approved to the Punjab State Bus Stand Management Company (PUNBUS).The objective is to manage the bus stands on modern scientific lines. The council also approved the transfer of 88 bighas and 16 biswas of government land on a lease basis for a period of 99 years to the PRTC for setting up a new bus stand at Patiala.

The council also approved exemption from the payment of stamp duty in the case of transaction in or transfer of agricultural land and rural residential property, excluding that located within the "lal lakir", to the wife instead of the widow. This concession would be admissible from December 21, 2001.


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