UT ponders over 2008 FAR order

The fate of thousands of houses in the city, that possess 70 per cent ground ratio, hangs in balance with the UT Administration mulling withdrawing a notification dating back to 2008, which allowed marla houses to have increased ground coverage.

In fact, officials are in dilemma on the issue as recently officials "realised" that allowing the increased ground coverage with enhanced FAR (Floor Area Ratio), was not in consonance with the city's heritage status.

Sources in the UT Administration say the UT Estate Office, in a communication sent to the Department of Urban Planning, stated that as per the notification issued in October 2010, the marla houses in the city of less than one kanal were allowed to have increased ground coverage. At the time, since the composition fee for the increased coverage was not decided, therefore no fee was being charged from the residents who applied for it. Instead they were asked to fill in indemnity bonds, and submit affidavits that stated that whenever the UT Administration decided the charges, they will agree to pay.

When the charges were to be decided, however, officials realised that allowing the additional coverage was not in sync with the heritage status of the buildings as a report of the Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee, mentioned that the city will be divided into 13 heritage zones besides heritage status to three Sectors - 7, 8 and 22 and no FAR enhancement in residential buildings (from Sectors 1 to 47). Following, the opinion of the department, now the UT officials are perplexed on how to go about undoing what has been already allowed four years back. Sources say that now the officials are also mulling that if at all the notification will be withdrawn, it would be done from the prospective effect.

When contacted, UT Finance Secretary V K Singh said: " The matter is still under examination and nothing has been decided as yet."

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