Sikkim government announces concessions in ground rent

Report by: 
SUJAL PRADHAN
Gangtok
24 Aug 2018

The Urban Development and Housing Department of Sikkim on Friday announced major concessions on use of government properties by the public and also regularization of unauthorized constructions.
Chief Town Planner UDHD Department Devika Sharma in a news conference during the day declared a 50 per cent exemption on ground rent on government properties in case of shops, stalls and miscellaneous uses. She also declared regularization of unauthorized construction on both sites alloted by the government and on private sites at a nominal rate of 50 per cent of the existing regularization fee within a window period of 60 working days.
“We have issued two notification dated August 21 declaring 50 per cent relaxation on ground rent and regularisation fee looking at the grievances from the people,” she said. The notifications would be effective in all urban bodies in the State. “Looking at the economic weaker sections we have taken the decision and we have kept the window period of 60 working days within that one has to file an application to the Chief Town Planner with proper documents then we will consider it for relaxation.”
As per the notification, the new ground rent rates in bazaars would be for Gangtok Rs 250, Deorali Rs 200, Tadong Rs 150 and for Singtam, Rangpo, Ranipool, Jorethang, Namchi Geyzing, Nayabaazar and Mangan Rs 100. For other remaining baazars it would be Rs 25. People who failed to deposit ground rent within March 31 in a year would, however, have to pay a surcharge of five per cent.
Coming in an election year, the move to give substantial relaxations in ground rent and regularization of unauthorized constructions was not surprising, observers said. Some wondered, however, if this move would encourage the trend of unauthorized constructions in towns like Gangtok. Gangtok MLA Pintso Chopel Lepcha, however, welcomed the move and thanked Chief Minister Pawan Chamling for addressing genuine issues of people living in Gangtok and other towns.