Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Lt Governor Tejendra Khanna, who are locked in a bitter tiff over fixing of new circle rates for the city’s colonies, today refused to comment over the issue even as the State cabinet is set to discuss the matter tomorrow.
As the stalemate over announcing the new rates continued, Ms. Dikshit and Mr. Khanna attending separate functions here parried volley of questions from the reporter over the issue that has become a bone of contention between the two.
“I will not comment over the issue,” Ms. Dikshit said here at a function.
Delhi Cabinet deliberated on the issue last Friday after Mr. Khanna returned the file pertaining to it for the second time insisting that his recommendations for revision of the rate for certain colonies should be accepted by the government.
Highly placed sources said that the State government is not keen to make any recommendations made by Mr. Khanna.
Mr. Khanna refused to approve the proposed rate and had recommended revision for colonies under F, G and H categories, they said.
The Lt Governor in his recommendation said circle rates should be increased further in top colonies whereas rates should be slashed where basic infrastructure is not up to the mark.
However, taking a serious view at Mr. Khanna’s refusal to approve the proposed rate, Ms. Dikshit had convened an emergency meeting of her Cabinet on Friday after returning from Japan a day before.
Sources in the LG’s office said if Cabinet sticks to its earlier position and sends back the file without any changes, then Mr. Khanna has the option of referring the file to Union Home Ministry for suggestion and recommendation.
Meanwhile, a Revenue department official said the government was not bound to send the file again to the Lt Governor and it has power to issue notification for implementing the Cabinet decision.
“We are not bound to send files relating to transferred subjects,” he said even as the main Opposition BJP has termed the differences between the two as a “constitutional crisis.”
Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly, VK Malhotra has said that it is perhaps for the first time that the Lt Governor has twice rejected the Cabinet’s decision and sent it back for reconsideration.
Mr. Malhotra alleged that Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had taken the decision to increase circle rates across Delhi in a most ad-hoc and unbalanced manner and had declared her government’s intentions even before complying with constitutional norms of sending the file to the Lt Governor.
Officials, however, say that as per rule, the Lt Governor will have no option but to sign the file if it is sent back to him by the government without making the changes as sought by him.
Last week, the Delhi Cabinet had rejected Mr. Khanna’s suggestion to revise the rates which were hiked in June with an aim to ensure that the government does not lose on registration fees through undervaluation of properties.
The circle rate is the minimum rate for valuation of land for residential use that differs for various categories of colonies.
The Cabinet had fixed Rs 9,000 per sq m as the lowest rate while the upper limit will be Rs 1,25,000 per sq m.
According to the revised rates, Rs 1.25 lakh per sq m has been fixed for posh colonies like Defence Colony, Greater Kailash, Gulmohar Park, Panchsheel Enclave, Anandlok, Green Park, Hauz Khas and Nehru Place.