Activists concerned about the extent of violation to be regularised, ambiguity over parking violations

Lack of immediate action against civil officials, ambiguity in parking norms, the effect on lower income groups, and low penalties were some of the objections to the proposed Akrama Sakrama Act that were raised during a meeting here on Monday.

With the Act having been approved by the Legislative Assembly in December 2013, the meet, organised by the Citizens Forum for Mangalore Development, was aimed to collate suggestions from the public about the framing of the rules.

A concern was the extent of violation that will be regularised, under the act, which suggests that deviations up to 50 per cent for residential buildings and up to 25 per cent for commercial buildings will be regularised following a penalty.

“The Act is builder-friendly. Violations of big builders will not exceed 50 per cent because of the large tract of land on which a multi-storey building has come up on. However, 80 per cent of houses of the ‘common man’ will not be regularised as their violations are likely to be more than 50 per cent on small plots of land,” said K. Dharmaraj, a realtor and architect.

Officials from the Department of Town and Country Planning, who recorded the observations, agreed that the present Act would affect a large number of households, especially in Bangalore where houses on small plots tend not to follow setback norms.

Similarly, there was uproar about the ambiguity in the Act about parking violations, which citizens alleged can be regularised based on official’s interpretation of the law.

Accountable officials

Vidya Dinker, Joint Coordinator of the Forum, believed the Act would be meaningless without a similar Act to hold officials, who have approved violations, accountable. Shanthala M.S., Deputy Director, T&CP, said this was being considered (under 76 FFF of Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act), but the modalities were yet to be worked out.

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