Himachal Housing Board levies service charge on refunds

Shimla: Unable to meet the huge demand for housing, HP Housing & Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA) by deducting service charges instead of paying interest on money deposited against a demand survey floated by the organization two years ago has the applicants fuming.

“It is part of the terms and conditions,” says Ganesh Dutt, vice-chairman HIMUDA.

He said that those applicants who on their own choosing withdraw the money deposited with the demand survey application carried out between December 2010 to March 2011   are charged administrative and service charges.

As per the terms spelled out, HIMUDA would only pay interest where it returns the Rs 5000 per applicant collected for not being able to meet the needs, he added.

With their having been about 70,000 applicants to the housing survey carried out, the state urban developer had collected over Rs 35 Cr but other than buying some land in Solan and Sirmaur has both failed to meet the applicants expectations or return the money.

The offer terms provided for that HIMUDA would buy land within a year of having received the demand applications but it expired in March last. Money lying with the developer for over a year was to be incur interest.

However, sources disclosed that the about 700 people who approached HIMUDA over the last two months demanding their deposit money because the developer had failed to mobilize any project, have been returned their deposit but not before deducting Rs 500/ as administrative and service charges.

“The organization is in a mess and it would be a befitting to take the matter to court,” said RP Goel, one irked applicant from Mandi who refused to take back a draft of lesser amount than what had been initially deposited.

“Instead of deducting service charges, they should be paying us interest,” he said.

In the demand survey the highest numbers of applicants 11455 were interested for a house in Shimla followed by Solan that had 5604 applicants, Hamirpur 4921, Una 4906, Kasauli 4291, Dharamshala 4273, Mandi 3733, Parwanoo 3405, Baddi 2941, Kullu 2403, Palampur 2273 and there were 2069 looking for housing at Manali.

“No land has been identified or bought in Shimla and many other towns where there was demand for housing,” said Dutt.

Set up by an act of legislation in 1972, till date the authority has only constructed 11,859 houses and developed 3441 plots.

In the government books, HIMUDA is recorded as a profit making PSU that has put up an accumulated profit of Rs 127.66 Cr, since it was founded.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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