New Delhi, Nov 3: To bring transparency in Haryana's booming real estate sector which is plagued by charges of corruption, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has scrapped a decades old policy which allowed state CMs absolute discretion and final say in the grant of licences to colonisers.
Stating that it was against the law, Khattar overturned the 25-year-old decision taken by the then Chief Minister Bhajan Lal in 1991 on the plea that granting colony licences to builders had "wider implications."
"Despite the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Act according powers of grant of licences to Director, Town and Country Planning, all such files are being presented before me for clearance in the name of internal concurrence," the chief minister said in an order issued under his signature. "A perusal of old files reveals this practice was started on August 7, 1991 after a decision taken in a meeting chaired by the then state CM.
"Wider implications of licences were the sole reason cited to start this tradition. Subsequent Haryana CMs continued with the policy. Evidently, this tradition is against the law and I am ordering it to be scrapped with immediate effect," said the order, a copy of which is with PTI.
Normally all decisions of the chief minister are issued under the signatures of the principal secretary of the chief minister.
The move comes at a time when grant of licences to builders in the state has been under active scrutiny including the permissions given to a firm owned by Congress President Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra in Gurgaon.
Incidentally, the Justice SN Dhingra Commission of Inquiry, set up to probe commercial licences granted to colonisers including Vadra in Gurgaon, had also adversely commented on the system of CMs granting licences to colonisers.
The powers to grant a licence to develop a colony lies with the Director, Town and Country Planning, (DTCP), under the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Act, 1975, but was taken away through on order of August 7, 1991, and entrusted with the chief minister on the plea that the same had "wider implications".
So far 1,571 licences have been issued by the Haryana Government, over half of them in Gurgaon.