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Chandigarh

Posted at: Jun 14, 2019, 8:00 AM; last updated: Jun 14, 2019, 11:47 AM (IST)

Solar project raises heat as deadline nears

Chandigarh is to be developed as a model solar city. The Centre has set the target of installing 69 MW solar plants in residential and government buildings by 2022. The UT deadline for compliance is June 30. This has made the residents jittery.

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 13

The UT Administration is going ahead with its ambitious plan of making Chandigarh a solar city, setting June 30 as the deadline for mandatory installations of solar rooftop systems. But it has so far not even filed a reply before the Punjab and Haryana High Court on a petition apparently eclipsing its actions.

In the dusk of his life, a retired Army officer, Col Prithipal Singh Gill, had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court in May last year against the Administration’s move to make installation of solar photovoltaic power plant mandatory for residential and non-residential buildings.

Col Gill, 97, argued the threat of plot resumption held out to those failing to comply with the direction amounted to “intimidation” or in any case an “attempt to intimidate”. Taking up the petition on May 21 last year, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Justice Mahesh Grover and Justice Rajbir Sehrawat issued a notice of motion to the Administration and others for August 20, 2018.

When the case came up for resumed hearing on that date, counsel for the respondent (UT) was granted time to file a reply. The Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Sudip Ahluwalia fixed the case for January 22. 

The case that day also failed to make any headway.

Justice Grover and Justice Lalit Batra were compelled to adjourn the hearing to May 27 on request by the parties. Things remained the same on the next date of hearing as well. 

The hearing on May 27 was adjourned to October last week as the counsel appearing for the Administration and another respondent prayed for more time.

Justice Surya Kant, since the filing of the case, went on to become the Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court before his elevation to the Supreme Court. Justice Mahesh Grover also retired on June 4. But the case failed to make progress with the respondents repeatedly seeking time to address the court on the contentions raised in the writ petition.

Col Gill sought the setting aside of the notification dated May 18, 2016, claiming it was without any legal sanction or authority. 

His lawyer contended it was  illegal, arbitrary and in colourable exercise of power on the part of the then Chief Administrator. 

JUNE 30 CUT-OFF

  • Notification issued in May 2016, making solar panels mandatory on properties measuring 500 sq yards; deadline extended for 6 months twice
  • Chandigarh picked as model solar city with the target of installing 69 MW solar plants by 2022; about 7,500 pvt and govt buildings to be covered
  • Solar panels installed on 261 govt buildings, 78 govt houses and 1,563 private houses; department has received 4,836 proposals so far
Govt lays it out

Residential area (in sq yd) - SPV panel capacity  

  • 500 to 999  -  1 kW 
  • 1,000 to 2999  -  2 kW 
  • 3,000 & more  -   3 kW 
  • Pvt buildings  -  5% of the load 
  • Govt buildings  -   5% of connected load

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