After more than a year’s ban, the Haryana government on Tuesday granted approval to construct stilt-plus-four floors (S+4) buildings in residential areas and also allowed owners to sell independent floors.

The announcement was made by Town and Country Planning Minister Jai Parkash Dalal as the state heads for Assembly elections later this year.

Dalal said, “It will help people who are not able to purchase houses due to high and exorbitant rates of property. Moreover, three were already allowed and one additional floor will help accommodate more people who aren’t able to make purchases due to high property rates.”

The government in February last year imposed a ban on S+4 constructions following massive protests by residents in Panchkula, who had stated that the people living in old houses that have the weight-bearing capacity of only two floors are also taking advantage of the stilt. plus four floors concept to add more floors for rental income. The protests gradually spread across the state.

The minister added that in case of the stilt-plus-four floors that are yet to be constructed, the owner shall have to take the permission of the neighbor.

Festive offer

“If the neighbor doesn’t allow it, then he will have to leave 6 feet or 1.8 meters of space to that side,” Dalal mentioned.

When asked if the independent floors could also be sold, he said, “Yes…that was allowed…but not in plots below 180 gaj”.

“The permission for construction of S plus four floors can also be given in sectors/colonies whose layout plan is approved with three dwelling units per plot, but only for such residential plots that derive access from 10 meters or wider road or also satisfy either of the two conditions,” it was specified.

The two conditions include submission of mutual consent agreement with all adjoining plot owners except those who have already obtained S plus four approval or side setback of 1.8 meters on all floors being maintained from adjoining plots.

Stilt plus four floors refer to a building that has a stilt floor, which is raised above the ground level, and an additional four floors above it, making a total of five floors.

Former Army Chief General VP Malik who spearheaded the campaign against the state government’s S+4 floor residential policy termed it a “peculiar and absurd policy” that puts neighbors into conflicting situations and drives them to legal tussles. He alleged that the state has succumbed to the pressure of the builder lobby.

“The state has come under the pressure of the builder lobby and preferred profiteering instead of looking after the immediate and long-term interests of its citizens living in old, established HSVP sectors. There will be problems due to lack of basic and essential infrastructure. It shall cause long-term suffering on account of poor sunlight, lack of privacy and other ecological concerns,” Gen Malik, who resides in Panchkula, told The Indian Express.

The retired General had earlier raised environmental concerns due to the concept which would also lead to the “alleged massive misuse of private property as is already happening in Delhi, Gurgaon and other neighboring towns.”

Ex-Army Chief’s 16-month-long fight

It all started when Former Army Chief General VP Malik (retd) on January 12 wrote to then Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar about the “rampant apartmentisation”. But the CM did not even acknowledge it, let alone take action, retired General Malik said.

The Supreme Court’s landmark judgment in January last year had banned the conversion or bifurcation of a single residential unit into apartments in Chandigarh. It had led to the Panchkula residents taking up the issue.

Fearing that the builders will now move to Panchkula and many of them have already started converting single units into apartments and selling those further, voices from Panchkula raised against the move.

Retired General Malik begins signature campaign

Retired General VP Malik also started a signature campaign here stating that this “injustice needs to be fought”. A recipient of the prestigious Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM), the former Army chief had stated, that “all over, from Panchkula, Gurgaon and other areas, this rampant apartmentalisation is going on and people have expressed their grievances about how they have approached the civil administration… the government, but nothing has happened. Some of them have even moved the civil court”. He said that there is a need to fight against the lobby that is keeping its monetary interest over the environment”.