NEW DELHI: In a big relief to almost all major national political parties, the Cabinet has approved almost 75% reduction in the land fee which the housing and urban affairs ministry had charged from all such outfits for the land allotted to them in Delhi for setting up their offices. While the biggest beneficiary of the decision will be BJP
, all others will also gain from this decision.
As per the decision, while parties including the BJP, Trinamool Congress, JD (U), DMK and TDP will have to pay less than what the government had asked for, parties such as AIADMK, Congress, TRS and Samajwadi Party and CPM will get refund of some of the payments they have made to the government. The Land and Development Office (L&DO) has so far allotted 14 plots to nearly a dozen political parties under the “institutional” allotment category.
TOI has learnt that the Cabinet approved the decision to change the category of the land allotted to political parties from “institutional” to “government-to-government” on September 7, but it was not made public. However, the minutes were circulated last week.
These plots were allotted between 2000 and 2017. Though there was provision to revise the rates every second year, this was not done since 2000. Only in 2017, the rates were revised.
When the dues were raised, almost all political parties had sought reduction in land rates by changing the allotment category while citing that they don’t use the allotted land for subletting or for commercial purposes. Sources said while all parties had deposited the required amount when the land parcels were allotted, they had agreed to pay the additional amount when the government revised the charge.
The rate applicable for “government-to-government” land allotment is nearly one-fourth of the rate fixed for land allotted for institutional purposes. The political parties had flagged that even paying the institutional rate was difficult for them, though the rate under the “institutional” allotment category is almost 50% less than the commercial rate.
As per the new decision, now the BJP will need to pay around Rs 18 crore to the L&DO for three plots allotted to it. This would mean a saving of around Rs 73 crore Similarly, the JD(U) would have to pay around 49 lakh and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) around Rs 1 crore.
Since some of the political parties have paid the revised amount, hence now the government will pay them back the extra amount. “The decision is for all allotments and hence those who have made the revised payment will get a refund,” a source said.
For example, the government would return Rs 27 lakh to the Congress party, Rs 2.6 crore to AIADMK and around Rs 10.2 crore to the Samajwadi Party.
Sources said the government may go for revised allotment as per the new decision and the provisions for “no subletting” and “commercial activity” clauses may be included.
This is the second time when the Cabinet has taken a decision regarding allotment of government land, but did not make it public. Earlier in 2017, it had decided to restore land to nearly two dozen religious, social and educational organisations, which were allotted during the Vajpayee regime but scrapped by UPA-I. Most of these organisations are affiliated to RSS.