Water supply, power connections can be denied under new building rules
After it had successfully stopped drinking water connections to several buildings for not having Occupancy Certificates (OCs), Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is looking forward to the A.P. Central Power Distribution Company Ltd (APCPDCL) to follow suit so that power connections too are denied to unauthorised constructions.
These steps have been mandated under the common building rules, but so far it was only the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) which has denied water supply to about 1,500 new constructions. Senior officials of the municipal administration department have also sounded the CPDCL authorities on not providing power to buildings without an OC.
Following a request by the Water Board, municipal authorities have undertaken a review of buildings denied water connections and have concluded that at least 40 per cent of them could be condoned. “We have inspected 460 buildings and found that 114 structures could be given water connections because some of them have obtained clearance under Building Penalisation Scheme (BPS) while some are old constructions,” said Additional Commissioner (Planning & Projects) K. Dhananjaya Reddy.
It is not as if water or power connections could be denied totally for illegal buildings. The Water Board and CPDCL could very well collect three times the regular charges and provide connections for buildings lacking an OC as per the building rules. Such a certificate is issued by the municipal corporation for buildings constructed without any deviation from the sanctioned plan.
OCs along with the 10 per cent mortgage clause and the compounding fee for 10 per cent deviation allowed has come as a boon for regulating construction activity. “There have been several instances when builders have paid high penal compounding fee close to the charges paid for taking building permits,” explained Mr. Reddy. For example, a multi-storied complex had paid Rs.1.2 crore in permit fees and paid Rs.64 lakh as compounding fee for 10 per cent deviation.
But, illegal constructions in smaller plots have reached gargantuan proportions with many owners building two or more extra floors without permission. Plans have to be cleared for constructions on 100 sq.yards or less save for authorised layouts and OCs are a must for any ground plus one construction. Few bother to take any permission. With demolitions the only way out, municipal officials are wringing their hands in despair unable to regulate and enforce rules lest they be accused of targeting the “poor”.