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Fee yoke on Kalinga settlers

Bhubaneswar, April 3: Residents of Kalinga Vihar are irked over the development authority’s proposal to collect processing fees for execution of lease-cum-sale deed of the properties that they had bought between 1993 and 2001.

With nearly 1,400 houses and 600 plots belonging to various categories such as high-income group (HIG), middle-income group (MIG), low-income group (LIG) and economically weaker sections (EWS), Kalinga Vihar is the largest housing project taken up by the Bhubaneswar Development Authority.

Kalinga Vihar is spread from Sum Hospital to Sampur and Patrapada to the NH-5 and beyond. On February 20, the area was brought under the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.

President of the residents’ welfare association of K-5 HIG colony B.B. Samanta said that though most of the allottees had taken possession in 2000-01, the authority never bothered to execute the lease-cum-sale deed at that time. “After more than a decade, it proposes to collect processing and other fees to execute the lease-cum-sale deed,” he said.

Samanta said land ownership could not be transferred as the development authority did not deposit the land premium to the revenue department, which owned the plot.

Members of the residents’ welfare association had pursued the matter with various agencies of the state government, and finally, the revenue department sanctioned the lease deed in favour of the development authority in September 2012, asking the planning body to deposit Rs 9.37 crore by March 2013.

“We had already paid the amount to the development authority before getting the possession. But now it is going to charge us to pay its dues to the revenue department. It will be unfair to impose such a massive financial burden on us without any fault of ours,” he said.

According to a letter issued by the development authority on March 7, 2012, a processing fee has been proposed for HIG, MIG, LIG and EWS houses at Rs 60,000, Rs 30,000, Rs 12,000 and Rs 8,000, respectively.

Allotment officer of the development authority Sibanarayan Nanda said: “The actual price in Kalinga Vihar area has gone up by more than 20 times since 2000. On the other hand, the payment of Rs 9.37 crore as the additional land price, as demanded by the revenue department, has also cost us dear. Development in the area also cost us crores. The audit report has also pointed at expenses incurred without any return from the housing project.”

Saying that the execution of lease-cum-sale deed was optional and there was no binding clause on any resident, Nanda said that those in need of transfer of the property or sale had already adopted the option.

Regarding the delay in execution of the lease-cum-sale deed, he said the inter-departmental process between the revenue and housing and the urban development departments had taken time.

“The processing fee is only to initiate the process. If an owner applies for the lease-cum-sale deed on payment of the processing fees, the development authority officials will visit the site and file a report. There could be additional charges such as violation of building plan in case of any change to the core house. So, for a HIG house, minimum charges to get the lease-cum-sale deed could be Rs 2 lakh or more,” said Kalinga Vihar resident P.K. Mohapatra.

Terming the authority’s action as “surprising, arbitrary and unjustified”, Himanshu Sekhar Parida, general secretary of the K4 LIG Residents’ Welfare Association, said: “The development authority should explain the justification of its demand for processing fee through a public notification or newspaper advertisement.”

V.S.P. Patra, a member of the K4 Plotting Scheme Residents’ Welfare Association, said that without a lease-cum-sale deed, the house owners were unable to get bank loans against their property.

“The authorities should intimate all housing scheme beneficiaries before taking any action. They can also hold a mega camp to redress the residents’ grievance,” Patra said.

Nanda said: “The residents should come to us and apply for the lease-cum-sale deed first.”

Vice-chairman of the authority Krishan Kumar, who assumed charges two months ago, said: “I have heard about the issue. But due to election work, I could not get time to get into the matter. We will see to it once the poll process is over.”