trend MILL
Hilly in plains
Sloping rooftops are the rage. Apart from instantly taking you uphill, these help beat the heat, as Saurabh Malik finds out 

YOUR slant towards sloping rooftops is well pronounced. Every time you hit the road winding up the treacherous terrains, the preferred destination for unwinding yourself up is a nice hilltop cottage, the one with a slanting tin top that lets in the pitter-patter of mountain rain, instead of all those hotels that remind you essentially of the plains.

No wonder, back home you have tried to replicate hilly environs by turning a little adventurous with the architecture. But so far you have stuck to cobbled stone pillars, mountain-stone tiles on the boundary wall and now-so-common side and front gables. At the most, you have gone in for gabled porches and wings.

But now that you are adding another floor or renovating the whole structure, it’s time for you to spruce up your concrete house’s crowing glory and turn it into a hilly bungalow with slanting rooftops and picturesque windows.

So many house owners in this part of the region — Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Jalandhar included — have already gone in for angled rooftops that reflect your leaning towards the hilly architecture with evocation of the colonial past.

What, you have missed the slat? Not a problem. Just look around and you will find under-construction or newly constructed houses with “one-and-a-half stories” and sloping roofs proudly sporting the gables. The rock and the woodwork is in abundance all over the place. The stone’s not stony; and the slant’s not oblique. That’s, perhaps, what makes your tilt towards the design all the more strong.

The cottages are just like the ones you have so often envied while watching all those Bollywood flicks shot on the Alps or even in the beauteous locales around Shimla and other hilly stations of Himachal.

If you are in Chandigarh and can manage your way through the security, just have a look at the two cottages in the Punjab Armed Police gazetted officers’ mess located behind the Chandigarh Club, bang opposite the rear entrance to the civil secretariat. Breathtaking and an exemplar for all you house owners! The tin tops have a sharp slant and are supported by metal pillars. If you were asked to hazard a guess, you could easily say the sides of the triangle are at an angle of 33 degrees with the base.

Around the porches, you have tiny white fences. But these do not cater to the need of drawing a distinction between the two structures. The fence is, rather, missing in between the two cottages. In lieu, you have a tiny garden.

Now that you have a fairly good idea, ask your architect to add more than just stones and impressive white-painted windows to the house to lend it a hilly touch. Ask him to give the top the slant you want.

Interior designer with city-based firm, Designer Atelleir, Shikha Verma, says slanting tops largely answer the problem of leaky roofs during the monsoons and prevent heating up of the houses.

Another contractor, Joshi, says apart from the aesthetic point of view, gables on the slanting roofs perform a vital function. “It helps the house breathe easy. In fact, it expels the hot air rising from the bottom level and protects the interiors from the white heat of the summer of the plains.” He suggests a low-pitched roof, living space on the ground floor, living room in the centre and connecting rooms without hallways.

For enhancing the effect, Joshi says it’s a good decision to go in for a stone masonry house even in the plains. But you should essentially avoid machine-cut stone on the inside of the house as it is labour intensive and costly.

“Also, the locally available stone may not be easy to machine cut,” says Joshi. “While plastering the inside of the stone walls, use a wire mesh for better binding between the stone masonry wall and the plaster”. Go for it, folks and wake up in the hills, even with plain ground all around you. 



Fringe Benefits
The Hibiscus schizopetalus comes in rainbow colours, flowers profusely & is easy to grow. Take your pick; you won’t regret it, says Satish Narula

A GARDENING enthusiast’s search is never ending. He is always on the prowl for something new. It has been our endeavour to introduce you to something different from time to time. Sometimes, we may forget our good old plants in the run-up to the mill, but remember, there are hidden surprises all around us.

Hibiscus is not a new name for any gardening amateur, as it is one of those shrubs admired not only for its showy blooms but also its very attractive foliage in its variegated form where white variegation provides the perfect contrast. Appearance of medium-size delicate pink blooms presents the ultimate picture of its eternal beauty.

A very hardy plant, hibiscus finds favour with horticulturists due to the variation in species. It is tipped to be as much Indian in origin as is thought by some to be Chinese. Once one of the most popular flowering shrubs, it is known to grow just about anywhere from coastal areas to high hills. So, why was hibiscus forgotten in horticulture?

It’s simple: Gardeners were fed up with the usual red, pink or orange single blooms. But the scenario has changed altogether with the introduction of the Hawaiian hybrids. Ask for a new colour and you are presented with a colour chart to choose from. There are more than 200 species in hibiscus. The hybrid blooms are extra large, showy, frilled, ruffled, double, single, lacey and come in different hues or in pure colours of red, pink orange, yellow, white, and mauve.

Another feather in the cap is their bearing in profusion. Do not forget to ask for the unusual blue. This colour, however, is not new — travel from Kalka to Shimla and you may find it growing along the roadside. Its pointed foliage is small to medium with serrated (saw-like) margins. Hindu devotees, especially Bengalis, offer its leaves and flowers to Goddess Durga.

But if you want something really different, ask for Hibiscus schizopetalus, the one you see in the accompanying picture. It is also known by other names like Skeleton Hibiscus. Unlike the hybrids where the bloom petals almost fuse together to form a round bloom, this bloom’s individual petals curl up and backwards to join in the middle to give it a curious shape. The margins are highly frilled, giving the bloom a curious look.

Hibiscus is suited for planting both as ground and pot plant. Some grow it as hedge, too, but in such cases, care should be taken to adjust the time of pruning the hedge in a way that blooms are not affected. Blooms appear on fresh growth. The plant usually needs pruning twice in a year. As it is hardy in nature, it has no exacting needs for water but a good supply of moisture is an added advantage.

In pots, it needs watering at least once after two days. The plants relish a good sunny site but in case of hybrids, a few hours sunny start with partial shade is enough. The plants are mostly multiplied by way of cuttings or layering.

The hybrid types are prone to insect attack mostly the aphids, mites and blister beetles. The later is identified as a big black and red-striped insect that flies with a hiss and has a face like the ant. The aphids appear in large numbers on the growing buds and affect flowering. Alternately spraying with sevin and rogor, dissolved at 2.5 gram and 1ml, respectively, at weekly interval frees the plant from most pests.

(This column appears fortnightly) 

The writer is a senior horticulturist and can be contacted at 



Mohali gets second industrial park

THE Hansa Group of Industries brings the first-ever industrial park in Dera Bassi. To be spread across Bhagwanpur, Kuranwala, Rampur Sainian and Harimpur Hiduan villages, the park will be on the Dera Bassi–Barwala Road, 3 km off the Chandigarh–Delhi National Highway.

The second industrial park in Mohali district, it will be developed as per international standards over 80 acres at an estimated cost of Rs 132 crore. The project is likely to play a vital role in the overall development of Dera Bassi. Designed by Dham Consultants, it would have all basic amenities like wide road links, water supply, sewerage treatment plant and electric poles. It boasts of green spaces, parking lots, bus stops and a dispensary. Plots are available in sizes of 166 sqyds, 250 sqyds and 500 sqyds and there is no stamp duty on purchase. As many as 500 freehold industrial plots of 6 to 20 marlas will also be available for entrepreneurs. — TNS



Tax tips
S.C. Vasudeva

Deed Indeed

Q. A flat was sold in 1995 on GPA basis for Rs.3.69 lakh. There was no capital gain as it was sold at allotment price of flat. Now, the purchaser has requested to execute sale deed in 2008 that will be at government-notified rate i.e. Rs 10 lakh. Is there any liability for capital gain tax?

— Deepak

A. It is assumed that the possession of the property was also handed over in 1995 when a general power of attorney in respect of the sale was executed. The newly-introduced Section 50C of the Income-tax Act 1961 (the Act) requires that in case the consideration received or accruing as a result of the transfer by an assessee of a capital asset, being land or building or both, is less than the value adopted or assessed by an authority of the state government for the purposes of payment of stamp duty in respect of such transfer, the value so adopted shall be deemed to be the full value of consideration received or accruing as a result of such transfer.

In view, thereof, the capital gain may have to be computed on the basis of the circle rate to be adopted by the stamp valuation authority for the purposes of registration of the sale deed unless you are able to convince the sub-registrar or take the matter to the court for directions to the concerned authority to adopt the value of Rs 3.95 lakh for the registration of the sale deed.

Q. In case of an immovable property, when does the transfer get complete and effective and, therefore, when would the capital gain arise on such transfer?

— P.S. Bhambri

A. The capital gain is taxable in the year in which the capital asset is transferred. In case of immovable assets title to such immovable assets will not pass till sale deed is executed and registered. The sale deed, even if registered later, the transfer would take effect from the date of the execution of the sale deed. The immovable assets will also to be deemed to have been transferred even if the documents are not registered but the following conditions of Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, are satisfied.

n There should be a contract in writing.

n The transferee has paid consideration or is willing to perform his part of the contract and

n The transferee has taken the possession of the property.

When these conditions are satisfied the transaction will constitute a ‘transfer’ for the purposes of ascertaining the year in which the capital gain has arisen.



Go on, Pay Your Tax

Q. I had a plot in Greater Noida that I sold in May 2008. The details of purchase (acquisition) and sale are enclosed.

n I paid Rs 1,79,740 to Greater Noida Authority on March 12, 1995. Authority declined possession, saying services were not ready.

n On July 15, 2000, G.N. Authority said plots were ready and I spent Rs 64,595 on registration: Stamp papers (Rs 26,125), registration fee (Rs 5,000), lease rent (Rs 19,120) and ramp charges (Rs 14,350). All expenses paid on November 22, 2000 and possession taken.

n I spent Rs 10,000 on taxi fare on four trips from Kurukshetra to Greater Noida.

n Applied for NOC on May 9, 2008 for sale of plot. Authority asked for Rs 4,03,800, bringing total cost of acquisition to Rs 6,58,135.

n Plot sold on May 9, 2008 for Rs 29 lakh. Miscellaneous expenditure of Rs 49,730 incurred: Brokerage (Rs 40,500), misc. exdr. in the court (Rs 230), taxi fare from Kurukshetra to Greater Noida and back (Rs 9,000)

n Net sale value: Rs 28,50,270.

I am a senior citizen and file my income tax return regularly. My sources of income are from pension and interest of fixed deposit. Kindly intimate me the amount of LTCG and income tax thereon and the dates on which I can pay income tax and whether this can be paid in installments or advance tax? How much of this tax can be paid while finalising income tax return in March 2009?

— R.D. Singh

A. On the basis of figures given in the query, the cost for the purposes of indexation from 1995-2008 would be taken at Rs 1,79,740. The indexed cost would be Rs 4,03,895. The improvement expenditure in respect of stamp duty and registration charges will also be indexed from the year 2000 to 2008. This would work out at Rs 44,618. The total cost would thus be Rs 4,48,513. No other charges/expenditure paid/incurred can be considered as part of the actual cost.

The sale consideration of Rs 29 lakh would be reduced by brokerage, miscellaneous expenditure and NOC charges. The net consideration would be Rs 24,55,470. The long-term capital gain would work out at Rs 20,06,957 and tax, surcharge and education cess at Rs 4,54,776.

The first installment amounting to 30 per cent of the capital gains tax should have been paid on September 15. You can now pay 60 per cent of the tax by December 15, 2008, and the balance 40 per cent by March 15, 2009.

Non-payment of 30 per cent of tax on September 15 would involve interest of Rs 4,093 under Section 234C of the Act also, which should be paid along with 60 per cent installment. 



Obtain a probate

Q. My real brother died on September 18, 2006. He was issueless and had no wife. He had a built house of his own entered in municipal records. He willed all his moveable and immoveable property to my sister, Vimla, and me on May 10, 2005. The will is in his handwriting and signed by two witnesses but is unregistered. The Municipal Committee is reluctant to transfer the house in our names, saying that the deed should have been registered. Kindly guide.

— Amar Nath Garg

A. In my opinion, the best course open to you is to obtain a probate of the will from the court. The municipal authorities will not be able to refuse the transfer in the name of the beneficiaries specified in the probated will. However, I would suggest that you should consult a civil lawyer on the subject as the issue involved has civil law implications and have no bearing with the direct tax laws. 



Plurality is essential

Q. I am unmarried. My father had an HUF that has been partitioned and by virtue of the said partition, I would get an immovable property that is fetching a very high rent. I am already being taxed at the highest slab rate. Can such immovable property received on partition be treated as HUF property?

— K.K. Anand

A. A single person, male or female, cannot constitute a Hindu Undivided Family. An individual who received his share of property on partition has potentiality of creating a joint family but so long he is unmarried, he alone cannot be considered as a joint family. According to the Supreme Court decision in 97 ITR 493 the word family always signifies a group. Plurality of person is an essential attribute of a family. A single person male or female does not constitute a family. In view thereof, the property so received by you can be treated as a joint family property only after you 
get married.