Patilís verbal orders on AWHO flats put 2 depts in tight spot

Officials of UT Urban Planning Department and the UT Estate Office are concerned over how to issue a completion certificate when there are blatant building byelaw violations and the housing society hasn't fulfilled certain mandatory conditions

The verbal directions of UT administrator Shivraj V Patil during a recent public hearing session regarding issuance of a completion certificate to the Army Welfare Housing Organisation (AWHO) have put the UT administration officials in a tight spot. So much so that the UT Urban Planning Department and the UT Estate Office are dithering over the issue.

On November 5, during the public hearing session of the UT Administrator, a delegation led by the president of the Army Welfare Housing Cooperation Society requested for granting a completion certificate to the owners. To this, Patil orally asked the officers concerned not to put conditions like solar energy and rain harvesting on AWHO flats on the grounds that "the Defence personnel sacrifice their lives for the country and countrymen without any conditions, and we should not bring any such hurdles in issuing them completion certificates" (as issued in a press statement by the UT Administration).

However, during the meeting, none of the officials present there could dare apprise the administrator that this issue was already a hot potato for the UT Administration which they had been trying to sort out for many years now.

Sources say now both the departments, Urban Planning and the Estate Office, are in a fix on how to issue a completion certificate to the AWHO flats in Sector 47 when there are blatant building byelaw violations in some of the flats and also without the housing society fulfilling certain mandatory conditions such as installing a rainwater harvesting system and solar panel.

Sources say that if the officials ignore the rules and issue a completion certificate, then in future similar requests could be made by other group housing societies in the city, creating a bigger problem for the administration. "If challenged in the court of law, the administration will have nothing in black and white to show what resulted in grant of such a clearance," said an official on condition of anonymity.

When contacted, UT Finance Secretary-cum-Secretary, Urban Planning and Development, V K Singh said, "We had held a meeting on the same day and detailed discussions took place between all the officials concerned. We will make certain recommendations in this case after more deliberations, and then the file will be put up before the UT Administrator as the final call rests with him."

However, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Estate Officer Mohammad Shayin said, "Today only a delegation of Army officials from the housing society including one Brigadier and colonels met me in the office and made representations on this issue. We are still examining the matter and a final call will be taken after studying all possibilities."

Approximately, six acres of land was allotted to the AWHO for the construction of flats in 1985. The AWHO constructed 242 flats in 1991 and allotted them to Army personnel. However, many flats have been sold on general power of attorney whose owners are also left in the lurch in the absence of a completion certificate.

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