Ludhiana, June 2
Members of the Public Action Committee (PAC) have made grave accusations against certain MC officials, alleging their involvement in a significant fraud that has resulted in financial losses to the state exchequer. They alleged that an official recently issued receipts for building compounding fees and external development charges (EDC) for buildings that have not yet been constructed.
Kuldeep Singh Khaira and Amandeep Singh, members of the committee, alleged that some officials, in collaboration with private developers, had been involved in fraudulent activities to create illegal colonies within the city. The PAC filed a complaint to Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, the Vigilance Bureau, and the MC Commissioner against the alleged fraud.
During a press conference on Friday, they presented copies of receipts for building compounding fees and external development charges, which were falsely depicted as pertaining to industrial plots located on Jaspal Bangar Road and Lohara Road in Zone-C of the MC. However, upon visiting these locations, they discovered that no buildings had been constructed and areas remained as large sections of open land, they alleged.
The members further alleged that a building inspector issued industrial EDC slips for 20 plots measuring 100 sq yards, despite the building bylaws stipulating that the minimum area for industrial plots should be not less than 330 sq yards. They claimed that these plots would be sold as commercial SCOs by owners, indicating the direct involvement of the building inspector, their superiors in the building branch, and other unidentified MC officials in the fraudulent activities, causing financial harm to the civic body and the state government.
Kapil Arora and Jaskirat Singh, other members of the committee, accused the MC officials of bypassing mandatory provisions of the PAPRA (Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act) and RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority). They claimed that the officials, in collusion with private developers of illegal colonies, issued compounding fee receipts for non-existent buildings. It was done to falsely demonstrate the construction of buildings and facilitate development of more illegal colonies in Ludhiana, they claimed.
“It is a fact that when a colony is developed with prior approval from the MC and after the payment of appropriate fees, the developer is obligated to provide essential infrastructure, including parks, greenbelts, wide roads, storm water drainage, water recharge wells, and a properly designed sewerage network system. Additionally, the developer must ensure the maintenance of the colony for a specified period of time. However, due to fraudulent activities within the MC, if illegal colonies are declared as developed prior to March 2018, developers of the colonies are relieved of these responsibilities. Consequently, the issuance of challans and building compounding fees by the officials concerned has resulted in significant losses to the exchequer and environmental damage,” they alleged.
Probe to be conducted, says civic body chief
MC Commissioner Shena Aggarwal assured that a thorough inquiry would be conducted into the allegations made by the Public Action Committee (PAC). If any irregularities come to light during the investigation, appropriate action will be taken against those responsible, including the officials involved.
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