Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday assured the representatives of Punjab Colonisers & Property Dealers Association that the new real estate policy would be made in consultation with all stakeholders.He also promised to examine what further steps his government could legally take on the demand of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab to help the industry recover from the adverse impact of the Supreme Court ban on sale of liquor along the highways.The chief minister made these assurances at a meeting with representatives of the two associations. While the property dealers’ delegation was headed by the association president Kultar Singh Jogi and general secretary Gurvinder Singh Lamba, the hotel and restaurant association was represented by its chief patron Paramjit Singh and general secretary Amarvir Singh. Others present at the meeting were Media Advisor to CM, Raveen Thukral, PPCC president Sunil Jakhar, Amritsar MP Gurjit Singh Aujla and local MLA Shyam Sundar Arora.
While the real estate sector has been on the downhill for the past several years due to the “destructive” policies of the previous Akali regime, the hotel and restaurant industry has taken a severe hit due to the Supreme Court ban on highway liquor sale, the delegations pointed out. The Chief Minister assured both that his government would look into their problems sympathetically and find judicious solutions to the same.At the meeting, the colonisers and builders requested for inclusion of their representatives in the committee formulating the new real estate sector policy for the state, according to an official spokesperson. In a memorandum signed by Jogi and Lamba, on behalf of all district president and members of the association, they requested the chief minister for concessions to the property business as were being given by his government to other sectors and professions. They also urged regularisation of all colonies, on as is where is basis, for which applications had till date been submitted, besides exemption for plot holders from regularisation fee.The association further urged scrapping of the condition for NOC for getting plans sanctioned and electric connections installed. In future, anyone found guilty of creating an unauthorised colony should be stringently punished, they demanded, while seeking the establishment of a State Board, with members of the association, to formulate the new real estate policy, as promised in the Congress manifesto. All legal action against colonisers/builders should be scrapped or put on hold till the formulation of the new policy, said the memorandum.
The hotel & restaurant association members, meanwhile, requested the chief minister to denotify highways falling within municipal corporation/committee jurisdiction to allow sale of liquor in hotels/restaurants/bars situation along these highways. They pointed out that these hotels etc had been built at huge cost and could not be relocated, and were in any case situated in service lanes, outside the 500 meter criteria laid down by the Supreme Court for ban on liquor sale. Also, they said in their memorandum, the SC ban, in spirit, related only to the ban of liquor vends and not to such dignified and well-appointed places for liquor consumption.They urged the chief minister to take immediate steps to save the hotel industry from losses and lay-off of workers, which would lead to huge losses also for the state government. The association representatives noted that similar steps had been taken by the governments in several other states, including Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Uttarakhand.The Chief Minister said his government would take all possible steps for the revival and protection of both, the real estate and the hotel industries.