Terming the Haryana government’s approval of the Stilt + 4 construction “illogical”, Panchkula residents Tuesday urged Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini to review the decision.

After stilt + 4 constructions became rampant in Panchkula district, residents had launched a campaign against the plan, saying, “It was fine for places like Gurgaon and others, but the same should not be allowed in old sectors in Panchkula”. Following massive protests by residents, the state government had in February 2023 imposed a ban on the S+4 construction.

Former Army Chief General VP Malik (retd) on January 12 last year wrote to then Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar about the problem. “But Khattar did not even acknowledge it, let alone take action,” Gen Malik said.

Gen Malik also started a signature campaign in Panchkula, saying, “This injustice needs to be fought”. “All over, from Panchkula to Gurgaon to other cities, this rampant S+4 is on and people have expressed their grievances. They approached the civil administration and the government, but nothing happened. Some of them have even moved to the civil court. There is a need to fight against the lobby that is keeping its monetary interest over the environment,” the former Army chief 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 led Panchkula residents to take up the issue, fearing that the builders would now move to their city.

Festive offer

Following the campaign, the government banned the construction and put the same on hold until a committee constituted for the same addressed the issues. The committee had allowed the construction with certain riders but the formal announcement was awaited.

“This is an illogical policy. Instead of encouraging neighbors to live peacefully with each other, it will create conflicting situations leading to court cases. It seems the government is working under the pressure of builders’ lobby,” Citizens Welfare Association president SK Nayar said.

“The government, it appears, has forgotten about the long-term interests of its citizens/residents living in the old Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) sectors since its formation. And we citizens feel helpless. The government could have allowed this in new sectors only,” he added.

Colonel PK Jetly (retd) said rampant stilt+4 constructions in old sectors were affecting sewerage, water supply, electricity, parking and traffic control badly.

“CWA members and Panchkula residents will be forced to launch agitations ahead of the 2024 Vidhan Sabha elections if the government continues to ignore citizens. By approving, the government favored the builders lobby to expand their business,” Nayar said.

“Thus, CWA members urge Haryana CM Nayab Singh Saini and the Town and County Planning Department Director to review their decision to keep the long-living peaceful citizens,” he added.

Mohit Gupta, a resident of Sector 25 in Panchkula said, “This will transform Panchkula into a modern madhouse.”

“Panchkula is predominantly a city of retired people. Many people got settled here permanently because of its serene and calm environment. The stilt-plus-four is probably the most important and debated three magic words in Panchkula as they are going to bring about a transition in the city from a serene and easy-going retired people’s city to a modern mad house, as most of our cities are,” Gupta said.

He added, “The Haryana government’s decision will transform the entire face and character of the city and will create havoc by exerting pressure on already inadequate civic infrastructure, especially in older sectors, where lanes are very narrow. Parking issues, water, sewage and electricity supply which are already under severe pressure due to inadequate maintenance and upgradation will be tested further.”