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Posted at: Nov 14, 2017, 2:19 AM; last updated: Nov 14, 2017, 2:19 AM (IST)THE TRIBUNE IMPACT

CHB halves processing fee, slashes form cost by 80%

Ramkrishan Upadhyay

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 13

The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) today slashed the processing fee for the conversion of residential property from leasehold to freehold by 50 per cent and the cost of the application form by 80 per cent.

Sources said the decision to reduce the fee was taken with the approval of VP Singh Badnore, Punjab Governor and UT Administrator.

The CHB was facing flak over the high processing fee and increasing the cost of the application form after the Administration announced to start conversion of dwelling units in September.

The plight of residents, who felt fleeced over the decision, was highlighted in these columns. The CHB started selling the form for conversion for Rs 1,180 (Rs 1,000 plus GST), which was available for just Rs 25 three years ago. The CHB also increased the processing fee manifold, ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000 plus GST for different types of flats for conversion.

Residents opposed the high processing fee, terming it arbitrary. Jatinder Bhatia, a resident, said there was no justification in charging the processing fee by the CHB as the Estate Office was not charging anything for processing applications.

No decision on those who have already paid

The CHB has not taken any decision on returning the amount of those who have already purchased the form for Rs 1,180 or deposited the processing fee at the old high rates. Sources said around 350 forms for conversion were sold and some property owners had deposited the processing fee at the old rates. The CHB has not clarified so far whether it will return the extra amount or adjust it in the conversion fee.

It was after my intervention that the Administration reduced the processing fee and the cost of the form. I took up the matter with the Administrator and requested him to reduce the charges to give relief to the residents. Kirron Kher, MP

This is a cruel joke on the people. There is no justification in levying charges for the form, which should be made available online,  and for processing, which is an internal work of the board. It is shocking to know that the exorbitantly high conversion charges have not been reduced. Pawan Kumar Bansal, former Union Minister

I welcome the decision to reduce the processing fee and the cost of the form,  but the conversion fee should also be reduced as it is exorbitantly high and unacceptable to residents,  who will not opt for conversion at these rates. Harmohan Dhawan, former Union Minister

I am thankful to the Administrator, who acted promptly on my request, which I made to him on Sunday.  I raised the issue of the high processing fee and the high cost of the form with the Administrator and requested him to issue directions to reduce it. I also took up the issue of the exorbitant conversion fee with the Administrator. Sanjay Tandon, city BJP chief

It is a half-hearted decision, which is not going to give relief to anybody.  There should not be any processing fee and charges for the form. The form should be made available online free of cost. Pardeep Chhabra, city Congress chief


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