No municipal approval needed for houses of urban poor

The New Municipal Act will bring about transformation: CM

July 19, 2019 10:26 pm | Updated 10:26 pm IST - HYDERABAD

In a major benefit to the urban poor under the New Telangana Municipalities Act. 2019, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has announced in the State Assembly that no municipal approval is needed for construction of Ground plus I houses in plots up to 75 sq. yards.

They will have to merely pay ₹1 for registration and ₹100 for property tax to bring them on municipal rolls for house numbers and provision of water connection and other civic amenities. The Government, he said, also proposed to give new door numbers to all houses with ‘QR’ code in the State for safety and security.

Online permission

As part of citizen-friendly urban governance, one need not go to municipal office for building construction permissions in area up to 500 sq. metres and 10 metres of height. Online permission will be given automatically if every document is in order within stipulated time or it will be deemed approved.

The Act brought in heavy penalties for violations of the rules. For property tax, online self certification will be enough but if the flying squads led by Collector detect any discrepancy, then the property owner will be slapped with a penalty of 25 times the accurate amount. Significantly, the Act has strict provisions for demolition of illegal constructions without notice.

Layout approvals

Another major feature is that layout approvals with self-certification will be given by the Collector who is given ample powers of regulation by the Act to rid the State of land mafia and illegal layouts. Common spaces in a layout for roads, parks should be registered to municipality before final layout approval is given.

“I am there in every sentence of the Act drafted without affecting the spirit of the Constitution,” said Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao, explaining the Act which has provisions in place to bring about transparency, remove corruption for issuing birth, death and other bonafide certificates, reduce human interference in sanctioning approvals and permissions. Importantly, it has provisions to ensure accountability of employees and representatives of local bodies.

No political interference

The Chief Minister said the new Act was required to ensure that every body — ward councillors, chairpersons and and in-charge officers — does discharge their responsibilities or face stern action of being removed from their posts by the District Collector. The Act ensured no political interference and no Minister could stay the orders.

The rot has set into urban local bodies over the decades, undermining the spirit of the Panchayat Raj movement. It could not be set right with a tablet or tonic and a surgery was the only option. The courts had questioned the government on Building Regularisation Schemes after allowing violations, he said.

Clear objective

“I am bringing this Act with a clear objective of people’s welfare and free them from harassment and exploitation. Some may not be happy with the Act but I am optimistic that in three years the State will witness great transformation,” said the Chief Minister The Act would pave the way for creating liveable conditions with clean and green environment, he said.

The Telangana Municipalities Act will apply to all the 140 urban local bodies — 128 municipalities and 12 corporations, including seven new ones. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation however has its own Act of 1955 for now.

The Act would also empower the Municipal Administration Director to transfer employees any where to break the monopoly of employees in local bodies and spare people of harassment.

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