BBMP directed to submit report on violations and action taken by September 21
After the recent lashing by the High Court of Karnataka, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) seems to have woken up from its slumber to the large-scale building byelaw violations in the city. Several byelaws violators have received notices from the BBMP.
The BBMP has been directed to submit a report on byelaws violations, disciplinary and criminal action initiated against officials concerned to the court by September 21.
Kunal T.K. (name changed on request), a resident of Jayanagar, said that the BBMP officials had been repeatedly asking him to come to the local office with the certified plan. “Two days ago, an official informed me that my neighbour had lodged a complaint. During inspection of the house still under construction, they found that the violation percentage was around 10 per cent,” he said.
The onus to check and take action against byelaws violators is on the BBMP engineers, said N. Mukund from Citizens’ Action Forum. He blamed the alleged nexus between citizens, BBMP officials and politicians for the situation. “With the land value increasing, it is natural for citizens to make the maximum use of the available land. However, during the planning and construction stage itself, the BBMP officials can conduct periodic checks and ensure that there is no violation. This system needs to be put in place,” he added.
However, Srikant Channal from the Association of Consulting Civil Engineers-India disagreed and said that the BBMP should make the citizens responsible for the byelaws violations. The issue can be tackled by taking simple measures.
“The BBMP must ensure that all citizens obtain completion certificate compulsorily from a registered engineer, architect or supervisor. The certificate should highlight the percentage of violation. Based on the percentage of violation, the BBMP could collect property tax at a higher rate. Automatically, citizens will fall in line,” he said.
The issue of large-scale building byelaws violations was highlighted when the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) started issuing notices to the BBMP engineers for “failing to check it in their respective jurisdictions”. According to BMTF chief R.P. Sharma, the task force has received 230 complaints on building byelaws violations from citizens over the past nine months. He said that the BMTF has issued 160 notices to BBMP engineers, including Engineer-in-Chief, and filed FIRs (First Information Reports) in 150 cases. So far, 30 engineers have been charge-sheeted.
He said that the reason for the violations was the unplanned growth of the city and the lack of a proper monitoring system. As per the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, the BBMP can regularise violations up to 5 per cent. He averred that this limit can be relaxed and after proper analysis, the limit can be increased. “This will then become one of revenue generation sources of the BBMP,” he said.
Opposition Leader in the BBMP Council M.K. Gunashekar and Janata Dal (S) Floor Leader Thimme Gowda concurred and said that the Act could be amended to increase the relaxation limit. Mr. Gunashekar said that if a case is filed against the building owner as well, citizens will desist from violating the byelaws.