UT red tape renders resumption ineffective, owners undeterred
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Violation of building byelaws, misuse of premises and non-payment of dues for commercial buildings, should land owners in trouble as such contraventions allow the UT Estate Office (EO) to resume (take possession) a property. Thanks to the Administration's long drawn eviction procedure, however, resumption, a tool to curb these problems, has done nothing to deter 'errant' owners.
Sample this: A recent survey, by the UT Estate Office to determine the number of buildings that have violations or have been resumed, found that almost 50 per cent of the buildings in Sector 17 stand resumed while almost 80 per cent of them have flouted norms, for which, they have been served a notice by the EO.
For instance, the Anand Theatre Complex in Sector 17 was resumed way back in 1974 but till date, thanks to the long drawn eviction procedure and the provision that allows the filing of appeals, this prime commercial property, worth crores, has not been taken over. On the contrary, the complex now houses about 40 smalls shops with the owner able to collect rent, that runs into lakhs a month, from these tenants despite the pending proceedings.
Similar is the fate of a hotel site located in Sector 17, adjacent to the RBI building, which was resumed way back in the late sixties. The plot measures about two and a half acres. Thanks to prolonged litigation, the UT Administration has not been able to make use of the site.
As per norms, once a building is resumed by the Estate Office, the building remains in the possession of the occupant and business goes on as usual. Moreover, since resumption along with penal charges is the maximum that the EO can effect, a long drawn legal battle ensues between the occupant and the Administration, which in some cases, lasts for years.