BBMP hopes new by-laws will curb violations

BENGALURU - 10.03.2015 : The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), head office, in Bengaluru on March 10, 2015. Photo: K. Murali Kumar.   | Photo Credit: K_MURALI_KUMAR

With several multi-storey buildings being constructed on small plots, especially in the core city areas, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is counting on new building by-laws to keep a check on unauthorised constructions and violations. Neighbourhoods in the core city are facing the problem of buildings coming up close to each other with no setback (space around them), due to which a structural flaw in one building affects the adjacent ones, putting lives in danger.

The draft of the new by-laws is ready and will be placed before the Standing Committee for Town Planning shortly. Once approved, it will be placed before the BBMP Council before being sent to the government for final approval, sources said.

Prasad, Additional Director, Town Planning, BBMP, told The Hindu that the by-laws were last revised in 2003, and many provisions either no longer apply to Bengaluru or are ambiguous. The basis of the new by-laws is the model building by-laws notified by the State government in 2017 for all urban local bodies.

For the first time, the BBMP has included provisions with regard to safety of construction. Until now, for high rises, the onus was on the builder. This aspect, officials said, is neither addressed in the current by-laws nor in the National Building Code.

“Now, we will insist on builders taking certain measures during construction to minimise any incidents of collapse or other structural accidents. The builders will have to submit reports of structural engineers, test of materials used during construction and other tests to certify the stability parameters,” an official said.

These tests have to be conducted only by companies or agencies certified by the National Accreditation Board for Laboratories.

Despite these measures, Mr. Prasad said the responsibility of ensuring that buildings adhere to the plan sanctioned by the Town Planning Department lies with ward engineers.

Concurring, Standing Committee chairperson S.G. Nagaraj said the committee had now proposed to revive Town Planning Squads at the zonal level. The responsibility of these squads will be to conduct surveys and ascertain which buildings are unsafe for living, besides ensuring that new constructions stick to the approved building plan.

“These squads supposedly existed earlier. However, they were disbanded and the responsibility of overseeing constructions was given to ward engineers,” he said and added that the committee would soon meet again to discuss the modalities of reviving the squads.

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