Himachal realty attracts Rs 850 crore
R. Suryamurthy

Himachal Pradesh has registered Rs 850 crore investment in real estate sector during last financial year said state Housing Minister Harsh Mahajan while addressing a function in New Delhi.

Mahajan said state government has enacted HP Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 2005, under which real estate has been opened for private sector and added that govt has received encouraging response from reputed private sector companies for investment in the real estate sector.

He said the state-owned Himachal Pradesh Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA) has played significant role in providing cheap, beautiful and comfortable houses. It has constructed around 15,000 housing units in the state so far and construction work on 10,000 units is full swing and another 25,000 units are in pipeline. He said at present about 6,500 housing units are being constructed by private sector real estate investors in the state.

Mahajan said that around 3 lakh housing units demand has grown in borders areas of the state which witnessed heavy investment under new industrial policy and added that around 5 lakh new residents have added in the major industrial towns of the state due to heavy demand of work force in the new industrial units.

He said the state government has decided to promote private sector investment for development of plots /flats at popular tourists resorts of the state like Shimla, Kulu Manali, Dharamshala where rich metropolitians and industrialists have shown interests for buying flats /houses to maintain second home in hilly place with luxurious climate.

He said state government has received requests from various non resident Indians to set up non-resident Indian city in the beautiful hill state and added that govt is seriously considering this proposal .

The minister said Himuda received attractive prices for flats in famous hill resorts Kufri from rich buyers.

He said the state has taken effective steps to enforce land use laws so that ethnic, cultural and aesthetic value of hilly houses is maintained and protected at all cost and added that state govt will not allow a concrete jungle in the state.




Jagmeet Y. Ghuman comes across a green belt plan for the industrial hub

The Baddi — Barotiwala- Nalagarh (BBN) industrial belt will soon go green. An ambitious project prepared by Forest Department, in collaboration with Baddi -Barotiwala- Nalagarh Development Authority (BBNDA), is all set to be launched in this industrialists’ paradise. The idea is to change the face of hub, currently dotted with haphazard growth.

Over the years, fast industrial growth has gobbled up the greenery. A large number of concrete structures have come up on land that once boasted of lush green fields. More and more area is being consumed by the industry but little effort is being paid to save and preserve the ecology.

The project, Greening industrial area of Baddi, has been prepared by R.S. Kanwar, DFO, Nalagarh Forest Division and Sandeep Sharma, Assistant Conservator of Forest, Nalagarh, after taking various aspects into consideration.

CEO of BBNDA Amandeep Garg says industry-friendly policies have resulted into incessant influx of different industries in Baddi corridor. Increasing industrialisation has also exponentially raised the level of the pollutants, Garg points out. It was finally decided to cover the industrial belt into green belt to combat the situation.

The project’s target area is roadside. In an area like BBN, the availability of space is a constraint as it becomes imperative to choose such plant species, which not only will beautify but also become the proverbial lungs of this industrial hub. Under the plantation project, thrust has been laid on indigenous species of the area, ornamental nature of plants, space available along the roadside, connectivity by roads and the nature of the plant species.

The tree avenue planting works will be taken up by two agencies. In the industrial areas, industries concerned shall plant and maintain tree avenues in front of plots whereas the forest department shall raise and maintain tree-avenue planting on the Baddi-Barotiwala road.



Faridabad on roll

Bijendra Ahlawat notes that the city is in for an image makeover with proposed flyovers and parks

While the development plan for Faridabad- Ballabgarh for 2021 is still under preparation, the city seems to offer a vast potential for urbanisation and real estate growth in the coming years if a glimpse is given to the projects in pipeline and the scope of the growth that could be unleashed considering the demand and availability of the land and infrastructure.

It may no longer be considered a poor cousin of cities like Gurgaon and Noida in the NCR, if the momentum of growth that had picked up recent back goes on without any major problem.

Out of the total ‘urbanisable’ area of 38,744 acres here, about 22,300 acres still remains to be developed. It is perhaps for the first time that an area of over 3,400 acres is being developed by private players leading to a sharp rise in real estate prices in the city.

According to senior officials of the Town and Country Planning department, the city has a population of over 14 lakh and it is expected to exceed 17.5 lakh by 2011.

The final development plan up to 2011 states that there is still two-thirds of the total available land marked for urban growth which needs to be developed to meet the requirement of urbanisation by then. So far Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) developed about 12,363 acres of land, whereas private colonisers occupied or earmarked a total of about 3,400 acres by the end of 2005.

But there has been an upsurge in the interest of the colonisers and more than 40 private developers had applied for licences to develop residential and plotted colonies or group housing projects in various sectors here.

Nearly 75 per cent of the total 86 applications received by the department concerned had been granted licences by the state government. Group housing colonies are expected to come over an area of about 950 acres, which could increase in the coming years, say the sources in the department.

HUDA had so far developed about 56,073 residential plots (including 20 per cent plots for weaker sections) , 5,350 industrial plots and more than 7,200 commercial and institutional plots, apart from the area developed by the HSIDC and the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF). As per the records, the city had a total of 62 residential sectors, 18 industrial sectors, 5 commercial sectors, three transport/communication and two sectors for institutional purpose.

It is reported that the next development plan (up to 2021 envisages new linkages providing a high end connectivity with Delhi, Greater Noida and Gurgaon. Ground work regarding connecting the city with metro train has already begun with the DPR already been prepared and submitted. The Chief Minister announced recently that metro will be available for the residents by 2010.

Since a large area is still to be developed to meet the requirement under the development plan, there has been no denial that vast infrastructure including housing, roads, parks, institutions, commercial and entertainment spots and industrial zones are likely to come up in the next one decade, claims J.S. Ahlawat, Administrator, HUDA.

While all basic and civic amenities will by development by the department, he says proper changes will be brought in the development of such facilities.

Under the plan, the width of the roads which was proposed as 9 metres, 18 metres, 30 metres, 45 metres and 60 metres has now been revised to 12 metres, 30 metres, 45 metres, 60 and 75 metres, respectively.

The proposed construction of the flyover at Badarpur border which had been hanging fire for past many years has again shown a glimmer of hope with the Chief Minister and the district authorities claiming that the work is expected to begin soon, leading to removal of a major bottleneck for the motorists at the border.

The flyover will reduce travelling time between the national capital and this city by almost 20 to 30 minutes.

A big town park, spreading on several acres of land, two stadiums and green belts along the main roads already exists. As many as eight out of total 20 sites of malls and shopping complexes are under construction. According to authorities, while Ballabgarh town had already merged with the main city, it was expected that the 30 km long patch between Faridabad and Palwal and later Hodal (60 km) will develop very fast given the ongoing projects which include the KMP (Kundli-Manesar-Palwal) Expressway and the Eastern Expressway connecting Palwal with Noida and Ghaziabad, on which work had already started.

The proposal of the government to set up an Industrial Model Township (IMT) in this district will provide a fillip to the industrial and business activity here, claims a local entrepreneur. Feasibility study on linking Dadri in UP with Mumbai through a dedicated Rail Freight Corridor had already been completed. A railway yard is proposed to be built at Faridabad, which is likely to spurt the related activities in the region, an official states.



BNP Paribas takes stake in SHFL

French banking group BNP Paribas SA has said it will acquire 49.9 per cent stake in Sundaram Home Finance Ltd (SHFL) for Rs 196.98 crore, a move which will give the foreign firm an increasing presence in the booming housing loans market of India. Sundaram Finance and Union de Credit pour le. The French firm will pay around Rs 146.98 crore to SHFL, while Rs 50 crore will be invested directly in the company, resulting in a 49.90 per cent stake for UCB in the enhanced paid-up equity capital of SHFL, Sundaram Finance said in a communiqué. — PTI



TAX tips
No lock-in period for repatriating money abroad
By S.C. Vasudeva

Q. I migrated to the UK a few years back. I owned a house in Delhi prior to migration. The house was built by me out of my own resources somewhere in 1999. Now I intend to sell it. The prices are very remunerative and I want to repatriate the entire money to UK as I am now fully settled in the said country. I have been advised by my lawyer, who is handling my income tax matters, that there is a lock-in period of 10 years and the money cannot be repatriated immediately. I seek your advice in this regard.

— Harender Singh, Patiala

A. There used to be a lock-in period of 10 years but by a recent circular issued by the authorities concerned same has now been withdrawn and you can therefore repatriate the amount of sale proceeds after payment of tax due thereon to UK without any problem. I am sure the sale would result in capital gain which if you so desire can be invested in infrastructure bonds to save the capital gains tax within a period of 6 months of the date of sale of the house. However, in case you do not want to delay the repatriation, you will have to pay the capital gains tax on the capital gain earned on the sale of the house before repatriating sale proceeds of the house.

House as gift

Q. I retired from service and have substantial income from my saving instruments, which I had acquired out of the funds received at the time of retirement. I also own two houses — one in Delhi and another in Chandigarh. The house in Delhi has been let out at a healthy rental. I want to gift that house to my daughter during my lifetime. She is married and is happily settled. Can I make such a gift and if so what would be the formalities to be complied with?

— S.K. Sud, Hoshiarpur

A. An individual has all right to make a gift of his self-acquired properties without any question being asked by any of the legal heirs. You can, therefore, gift the house situated in Delhi to your daughter. However, this would require execution of a gift deed in her favour. It will have to be registered with the sub-registrar, Delhi. The value to be adopted for the execution of gift deed will be the market value as on the date of gift. This would involve the payment of stamp duty on such market value at the applicable rate.

Section 80C

Q. It is submitted that I have availed a housing loan in 1996 from my employer and availing the deduction under the Income Tax Law and further in 2004 for the construction of 1st/ 2nd floor after approval of map afresh from the concerned authorities, I have raised a term loan for the said construction from the HDFC Ltd. and during the financial current year, the following principal and interest is payable towards the both housing loans, which is as under:

Principal Amount Interest Paid Amount

(a) Employer Rs 18,000 Rs 2,267

(b) HDFC Rs 22,994 Rs 68,758

Total Rs 40,994 Rs 71,025

It has been conveyed that the interest rebate under the Section 24(b) for Rs 71,025 or up to the maximum limit of Rs 1,50,000 will be taken into account but repayment of principal amount will be taken into account for Rs 18,000 only instead of Rs 40,994 or with a maximum limit of Rs 1,00,000 under the Section 80(C). I would like to get your kind attention towards the Section 80(C) and need your kind advice in the matter.

It is further clarified that the second loan is availed for new construction made on 1st / 2nd floor and not meant for re-construction, repairs and renewals. Therefore, it is axiomatically clear that the construction has been made with capital borrowed after April 1, 1999, and completed within three years, therefore eligible for the deduction under Section 80C and amount paid as a re-payment of principal of borrowing capital is eligible, in which the limit is Rs 1 lakh.

Keeping in view, it is requested to please clarify the deduction under Section 80C.

— R.K. Singla, Punjab

A. Section 80C of the Act provides that in computing the total income of an assessee, being an individual or Hindu undivided family, there shall be deducted in accordance with and subject to the provisions of this section, the whole of the amount paid or deposited in the previous year being the aggregate of various sums referred to in the said section, as does not exceed Rs 1 lakh. One of the deductions allowable under the said sections is the amount paid towards or by way of any instalments towards the payment of the amount borrowed from the specified agencies for the purposes of purchase or construction of residential house property. The permitted agencies include the employer as well as the housing finance companies. As explained hereinabove maximum deduction allowable under Section 80C of the Act is limited to Rs 1 lakh. The amount of Rs 1 lakh will thus include payments towards life insurance premia, provident fund contribution, investment in national saving certificates etc. as also the instalment towards the repayment of loan raised for buying or construction of house. Although you have not indicated the details in your query, it seems the deduction claimed by you in respect of provident fund contribution etc. are about Rs.82,000. Your employer may have restricted the deduction up to Rs.18,000 on account of this reason.

IT return

Q. I retired from the services of apex cooperative institution of Punjab on September 30, 2005, and accordingly filed my income tax return for 2005-06. I am getting EPF pension of Rs 899 p.m. (after getting computation amount). I enlarged my already built house after my retirement for which I have also taken home loan of Rs 5 lakh for a nationalised bank wef November 1, 2006. I am getting a monthly rent of Rs 14,500. I have paid LIC premium of Rs 5,600 for the period from April 1, 2006, to March 31, 2007. Besides I have recently sold shares worth Rs 1,50,000, which were purchased jointly by me and my wife prior to 1995. I have no other income or saving for the income tax purpose. Kindly advise if I have to file my income tax return for 2006-07.

— Dilbag Singh Rana, Panchkula

A. The facts given in your query are not complete. You have not indicated the amount of house tax paid in respect of the house, which you have let out as well as the interest payable in respect of loan taken by you for the construction of the house. You have also not indicated the cost price of the shares, which have been sold so as to compute the capital gains on the sale of such shares. It has also not been indicated by you whether the shares held and sold by you were equity shares and the securities transaction tax had been paid thereon. In view of these details not being available, I am not in a position to advise about your liability to file the tax return for 2006-07.

Freehold conversion

Q. I am a HP government pensioner and a senior citizen. My pension income for 2006-07 will be Rs 1,92,756. After deducting the tax free limit of Rs 1.85 lakh, I am supposed to pay tax on Rs 7,765 during this financial year, I have paid Rs 34,568 to HP Housing Board for conversion of my house from lease-hold basis to freehold and Rs 50,960 on the registration of this house. Kindly advise me if there is any provision for tax rebate under Section 80 for these two expenditures.

If the above two expenditures do not allow any rebate in income-tax, then how much investment I should make in National Savings Certificates so that I need not pay any tax for the assessment year 2007-08 relevant to financial year 2006-07

— R.S. Bhatnagar, Shimla

A. There is no provision in the Income-tax Act 1961 (the Act) for allowing deduction against total income, in respect of amount paid for conversion of the land from lease-hold to free-hold basis and the registration charges incurred in respect of the acquisition of the house. Your income being marginally higher than the exempted limit, purchase of National Saving Certificates of Rs 8,000 would reduce your total income to Rs 1,84,756. In case you choose to make such investment you would not be liable to pay any tax on such total income of Rs. 1,84,756.