The long-pending demand of Gurugram residents that the external development charges (EDC) collected from builders for developing master infrastructure should be spent within the city, instead of being directed to a centralized state pool from where it is reallocated, is likely to be met soon.
The state cabinet, on Tuesday, approved the amendment of the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Rules, 1976, to enable maintenance of an EDC account for every town. With this, every town and city in the state, including Gurugram, will be able to spend the revenue thus generated from projects in its jurisdiction to create infrastructure within its boundaries.
Director of the department of town and country planning (DTCP) Makrand Pandurang confirmed the development. “The EDC generated in Gurugram will now be spent here itself and the EDC generated in Sohna would be spent (for development) in that town. This is a very positive development and will give a major boost to local infrastructure,” he said.
The decision holds significance for Gurugram as the city’s population increased at almost 74% between 2001 and 2011 (as per 2011 Census), but infrastructure development failed to stay abreast with the rising needs.
Gurugram has generated an estimated Rs35,000 crore in EDC since 1980s when private colonizers started investing here. But since development funds are allocated by the state, many of city’s key infrastructure projects have been left hamstrung as the HSVP and other development agencies were cash-strapped.
Allaying fears that localized spending of EDC funds may lead to lopsided development in the state, Pandurang said, “There was an independent infrastructure development fund for overall regional and state infrastructure development”.
The amendment requires the director, local authority or any other government agency receiving the EDC to maintain a development plan-wise account statement for all such receipts. The EDC received against any project would be utilised for provision of external development works in the said area.
The directions further state that account statements would be updated and posted on the website of the Town and Country Planning Department by the concerned government agency or local authority on a monthly basis to ensure complete transparency.
Localised spending of EDC funds may also push governments to introduce innovative ways, like allowing realtors to pay EDC and IDC (internal development charge) in instalments, to ensure builders clear their dues. As per an RTI application filed by activist Aseem Takyar in 2017, payment of Rs12,000 crore as EDC was due to be paid by developers in Gurugram.
There has been strong refrain among city developers, residents and realty investors that Gurugram’s inadequate and rickety infrastructure be improved by spending the EDC locally.
This demand also gained ground after there were political allegations of the previous Congress government spending large amounts to develop Rohtak at the cost of Gurugram. Gurugram MP Rao Inderjit Singh has been at the forefront of the political consensus building process for this. The formation of the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority was also meant to ensure that planning and development are localised and revenue generated in the city is spent on the city.