UT Industry wants to remain CLUed-in Wants Extension Of CLU Policy For Another 2 Years
THE Industrial and Business Park in Chandigarh, formerly known as the Chandigarh Industrial Area, home to one of the largest clusters of nuts and bolts in the country is increasingly looking towards commercialisation of its industrial plots. Industrialists and entrepreneurs owning land plots in the Park have appealed to the Chandigarh Administration to grant an extension to the ‘Chandigarh Conversion of Land Use (CLU) of Industrial Area’ for another two years. The administration has kept September 19 as the deadline for applicants willing to convert industrial plots to commercial areas. As per city-based industrialists, the policy has more scope and many industrialists are interested to adopt it. Till date, only 39 applications have been submitted since the policy has been implemented in 2005. According to insiders, another 30 applications are expected to be submitted before the September 19 deadline. “From the time the policy has been introduced, there have been many amendments made by the Administration. So the number of applications has only been 39. We would want the policy to be extended for another two years at Rs 20,000 per sq feet,” says Vinod Mittal, president of Roller Flour Mills, Chandigarh. The real estate prices rising in the city have also propelled a number of plot owners to look at commercialising their plots. Says Madhu Vij, owner of Modern Automobiles — one of the initial sites converted from industrial to commercial — in the Industrial and Business Park, “The land in Chandigarh is expensive and industry in Chandigarh can’t grow due to land constraint. Therefore, a number of industrialists want to convert their plots. The conversion policy can reap a lot of benefits for the Administration if the deadline is extended.” General secretary of Federation of Small-Scale Industries in Chandigarh, Rajiv Gupta says that the association has written to the Administration already. “We have requested the Administration for the extension. That would make the area friendly for commercial activity since many plot owners who do not have successful industries in the Park want to get the sites converted to commercial areas. The extension will help everyone to adopt it easily,” he says. In 2005, the UT Administration had made important changes in its land use policy, for the Industrial Area. The administration allowed payment of conversion fee in installments for a period that extends more than five years. An Empowered Committee was also created for implementing changes. This relaxation, however, came with an amendment in 2006 where an increased rate of interest of 8.25% was applied (as compared to the earlier 7%). The administration increased the ground coverage up to 50% for plots being developed as multiplex which meant that the floor area ratio of 2 could be achieved without raising height to thirty metre or more saving the plot owners clearance from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, since the industrial area is situated close to the airport. The amendments further liberalised the conversion policy and had resolved the issues raised by the Chandigarh Industrial Association and some entrepreneurs. In 2006, the revenues earned by the estate office due to the conversion policy came up to the tune of more than Rs 180 crore. As per the Confederation of the Indian Industry (CII) northern region, the Administration is likely to approve the extension. Says Partap K Aggarwal, chairman, CII Chandigarh Council, “The CII has also written to the administration and we are hopeful that the government will keep in mind the interests of the industry. We hope that the prices are not hiked such that more plots can avail the benefits of the conversion policy.”