Single-source electricity connections or smart electricity meters, increased property tax in reviewed formula and inception of conveyance deed (CD) has emerged as a major issue for the 40,000 strong population of owners/allottees of flats in over 300 group housing societies in Mansa Devi Complex, sectors 20, 22, 25, 26, and 27, which fall under the PANCHKULA assembly constituency. MANVEER SAINI catches up with residents to check their pulse towards elections.
Panchkula: "For the past two years, we had been fighting the battle against single source connection forced upon us by the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC). Following this, we have been now served fresh notices about the replacement of existing meters by pre-paid smart electricity meters," said Subhash Chander Sachdeva, the president of a flat owners' body in Mansa Devi Complex.
And this has come with a heavy burden of redefined property tax, as well as conveyance deed (CD) forced on the residents. Most of the flat owners are retirees and have invested their entire bank balance in getting the house. Original allottees will be forced to pay Rs8,000-10,000, and those who bought the houses on resale will have to shell out about Rs3-5 lakh, depending upon the value of the flat. Referring to property tax, BB Sharma, an office-bearer of the Sector 20 flat owners, claimed that property tax is working out to be more than that of a house of 350 square yards owned in other sectors. "So far as electricity is concerned, flat owners are the only group targeted by the electricity department to cover up their losses incurred in power theft in the rural belts," he said.
These societies were carved out by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) by allotment of land to co-operative societies under the scheme of affordable housing since 1990. Most of the allottees are retired employees or officers or small businessmen of the city. Contrary to the claims of Congress MLA Devender K Bansal, who has taken up this issue in the assembly as well, the residents say otherwise. "We have seen our parents struggling to raise loans for the purchase of a flat. Now, when a major portion of the income is going in instalments, we see our parents cribbing over increased property tax as well as the CD issue. Which rulebook says you to pay thrice for a property?" asked Anuj Kataria, a young entrepreneur living in the Mansa Devi Complex.