HYDERABAD: The issue of arrears of Rs 1,400-crore development charges payable to the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has engulfed the two departments once again.
At the sixth HMDA Board meeting held on Thursday, the financially-beleaguered HMDA urged minister for municipal administration and urban development (MAUD) KT Rama Rao, who is also the vice-chairman of HMDA, to see that GHMC cleared the long-pending arrears of development charges amounting to Rs 1,400 crore in phases if not in lumpsum to take up developmental works in HMDA limits.
The minister directed GHMC commissioner B Janardhan Reddy to look into the issue and see that the matter was resolved and dues were released to HMDA by GHMC. HMDA officials said that they would now pursue the matter with the corporation and see that dues were cleared at the earliest.
The merger of 12 surrounding municipalities and 36 gram panchayats with GHMC a few years ago has caused serious impact in terms of revenue generation to HMDA. The GHMC, on behalf of HMDA, has been collecting development charges from applicants since August 2007 but has not remitted the money to HMDA.
Development charge is about 10 percent of the total fee being collected by the municipal corporation while issuing building permission. The dues have piled up to reach Rs 1,400 crore.
While GHMC is obviously reluctant to let go of any source of revenue as it needs a lot of money to take up developmental works in the city, HMDA, as the urban planning body, is mandated by the AP Urban Areas Development Act to give building permissions and do enforcement.
However, ULBs usually delegate such powers to the local body which is what the HMDA had done when the 12 municipalities and 36 panchayats were merged with MCH for forming GHMC.
HMDA’s predecessor Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA) used to give permissions to buildings above ground plus three floors and above while letting the municipalities or gram panchayats give permissions up to ground plus two floors.
Revenues were substantial for the HUDA till it had to cede the powers to GHMC.
Before the delegation of powers, the Authority used to generate a revenue of Rs 125-150 crore annually by giving building permissions to multi-storeyed buildings, commercial complexes, shopping malls and residential complexes and layout permissions within their jurisdiction.
HMDA, for the last few year, has been regularly writing letters to GHMC authorities demanding immediate release of their rightful share of dues.
The state government had issued orders in August 23, 2007 that in the matter relating to layout approval and building permissions, GHMC should remit the collected development charges to HMDA on a monthly basis.
And if the corporation failed to remit the development charges for three months, then HMDA will be free to withdraw the delegation of powers.
GHMC officials said the corporation’s financial position was not encouraging and added that the development charges were being utilised for projects like multi-level flyovers, laying of roads, maintenance of sanitation and parks, etc.