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Amenities, urban infrastructure for ‘regularised’ colonies far cry
The Tribune  |  February 14, 2020

Kuldip Bhatia Ludhiana

Now that the policy for regularisation of illegal colonies has lapsed (on Jan 31), the ball is now in the court of the state government (urban local bodies and area development authorities) for providing basic amenities, urban infrastructure, along with internal and external development works which were left incomplete by the developers.


However, if a section of developers is to be believed, they were not pinning much hopes on the regulatory bodies to take up development works in the colonies that were regularised under various policies between 2013 and 2020 for the simple reason that the very ‘economics’ of the financial burden of providing amenities and urban infrastructure defied all logics.


Requesting not to be named, a prominent city-based developer said the government had made tall claims of ushering in ‘planned urban development’ through regulating development of residential, commercial and industrial colonies without taking into consideration the money that would be collected by way of licence fee, change of land use and development charges and the expenditure involved in providing basic amenities and urban infra in regularised colonies.


Citing official data, the developer stated that according to a survey conducted by the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA), an estimated 2000 illegal colonies were spread in an area of around 10,000 acre in and around Ludhiana city (and some other areas under jurisdiction of GLADA) alone.


“Even by conservative estimates if the cost of development of one acre is calculated at something like Rs 30 lakh, a staggering amount of Rs 3,000 core would be required to provide water supply, sewerage, internal and external roads, street lights and development of green belts. In stark contrast, the revenue collection from illegal colonies that come forward for regularisation would not be more than Rs 300 or 400 crore (Rs 3-4 lakh per acre),” said the developer while posing a big question as to where from the government or the area development authorities would generate that kind of funds needed for bare minimum development works in licensed colonies.


Sources in the realty sector maintained that the ‘regularised’ colonies within the city limits were in a still worse condition in the wake of precarious financial health of the Municipal Corporation in the industrial capital (or urban local bodies elsewhere). “If the MC did not have enough funds even to carry out patch work on potholed roads, the possibility of taking up additional liability for providing amenities and urban infrastructure in such colonies seems to be a distant dream,” the sources said.