Industry not keen on plot conversions
AS the Chandigarh administration reportedly prepares to revise prices of converting industrial plots to commercial plots in the Industrial and Business Park on a proposal sent by the estate office, the industry is not taking the news sitting down. As per sources in the administration, the revisions and increase in conversion rates as per the ‘Chandigarh Conversion of Land Use of Industrial Sites into Commercial Activity/Services in Industrial Area, Phase-I & II, Chandigarh Scheme, 2005’ policy, go along with the rules according to which the conversion prices should be 50% of the average price of the auctions in the last three years. However, the escalating land prices in Chandigarh have propelled the Estate Office to do a rethink. The revision, which spells a hike for plot owners, has not met well with industrialists and industry associations alike. Chamber of Chandigarh Industries president Surinder Gupta told ET: “We are giving a representation to the administration to stall the process since the revision would not only mean a huge hindrance to the small plot owner but also a hassle for the big lot owners who have given applications already. The calculations must also take into account the price of the land in the total calculations to reach the right reasonable price.” Federation of Small Scale Industries of Chandigarh general secretary Rajiv Gupta says, “I think that there should be no hike; people who have already opted for the conversions are facing high rates but the small players have no option but to opt out. The administration must think of some concessions to the smaller players else the hike would seem biased towards having only larger players and not having a level field for all. Further, the increase is coming at a time when there are barely two months left for it to expire.” An industrialist who did not wish to be named said that the policy changes and hikes are destroying the industry in the Park and the industry and commercial areas cannot co-exist. “Since 80% of the industrial plots are below 2 kanal area, the conversions would be of no use since they are not allowed to apply,” added the person. The industry is also of the view that if there has to be an increase, the rise should be in effect from March 18 onwards.