Building Blues: Housing Rules in Chandigarh Displace Allottees!

The Chandigarh Housing Board's revised construction regulations are giving allottees a lot of trouble.

The Chandigarh Housing Board's revised construction regulations are giving allottees a lot of trouble.

According to the allottees, they built their homes following the revised criteria, even though the CHB need-based policy had permitted specific building and design types.

CHANDIGARH: The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) allottees become caught in a web of legal disputes and building violations due to a combination of factors, including outdated homes that are incompatible with the changing demands of families. Retrospective modifications to the construction restrictions have made the problems faced by the allottees worse in certain instances.

Since 2001, the allottees have constructed the CHB dwelling units under the policies for need-based changes that are notified periodically. However, on March 1, 2023, a new policy was notified, withdrawing the previously approved numerous need-based changes and labeling the construction as a "violation."

Certain dwelling designs and building methods were permitted by the CHB's need-based rules. The recipients assert that they were built by the revised rules after this. The modifications were forbidden in later revisions to the policy. However, when CHB employees demand destruction or threaten to levy fines on projects that were previously approved but subsequently denied, issues develop for the allottees.

The Chandigarh Resident Association of Welfare Federation (Crawfed) head, Hitesh Puri, declared, "Laws, policies, or rules have retrospective effect in no other cases." Concerning the CHB construction guidelines, however, a sentence that reads, "This supersedes all previous orders of need-based changes" is added to each new policy, which raises legal issues. Construction that was previously approved but then denied is the subject of opposition from CHB authorities. They argue that although the aforementioned building was previously authorized, it is currently not. For the allottees, this leads to significant issues.

"Any office order/policy for regularisation is implemented on a prospective basis, it cannot be implemented on a retrospective basis, but surprisingly it is mentioned in the latest policy that it supersedes all previously issued notifications of need-based changes," pointed out Rajan Malhotra, president of RWA Sector 45C, as one of the special invitees to a recent meeting of the Committee for recommendation of need-based changes in Chandigarh Housing Board dwelling under the chairmanship of Secretary, CHB. In the most recent policy, many of the reliefs provided in previous need-based modifications policies have been removed.

There have been cases where the CHB has taken multiple positions on the provision. For example, an order dated May 18, 2001, permitted the construction of a projection/balcony in front of the MIG duplex apartments, by the projection that had previously been granted by CHB, by supplying pillars below. The aforementioned policies, issued on March 23, 2010, July 7, 2015, and February 18, 2016, kept this allowance. These were then forbidden in the subsequent policies, which were issued in January 2023 and February 2018.

According to the Chandigarh Housing Board authorities, it is challenging to determine if development took place during the approved or prohibited time. Allottees get notifications, and if they can demonstrate that the structure was built within the permitted time frame, the appropriate action will be taken.

In the majority of instances, even when the allottee notified the Chandigarh Housing Board of a modification following the permitted policy, the CHB seldom responded to validate it. Such letters are typically not forthcoming, according to one allottee who wished to remain anonymous.

Hitesh Puri said, "We have recommended that CHB get an affidavit from the allottee at the time the alteration was made, providing an undertaking. The Chandigarh Housing Board needs to bear the weight of the evidence. Why is this causing harassment for the over 65,000 allottees?

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