Centre pushes for easing urban building norms

Ahead of launching its ambitious ‘smart cities’ scheme, the Centre on Tuesday pushed for easing the norms for construction in urban areas by substantially reducing the number of approvals and no-objections required for taking up new projects.

At a meeting of Ministers and Secretaries of seven Ministries convened by the Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister, M. Venkaiah Naidu, it was suggested that all approvals should be given within 30 days from the date of application.

Referring to the long-drawn process of seeking approvals, Housing and urban Poverty Alleviation Secretary Nandita Chatterjee said at present 30-50 approvals were required to be taken from the Centre and State governments, which led to an average approval time of 90-600 days for construction projects. Based on the parameters of procedures, cost and time taken for approvals, India is ranked 182 among 185 countries, adversely impacting investments, she added.

“Based on the discussion, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has agreed to the suggestion that most of the forest and environment-related regulations can be included in the building by-laws for ensuring compliance by the urban local bodies concerned. He also said that his Ministry would soon unveil different guidelines for different plot sizes which could also be similarly incorporated in the Development Control Regulations,” an UD Ministry official said.

Mr. Javadekar said the issue of the Coastal Zone Regulations would be resolved soon and delineation of exact boundaries of 639 ecologically sensitive zones would be expedited to remove ambiguities and enable quick approvals.

Problems of hill areas in finding land for housing for the poor with most of the land categorised as forest land would also be looked into, he said.

For his part, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju has agreed that his Ministry would furnish necessary maps and information regarding height restrictions for construction in the funnel zone of all airports to the urban local bodies concerned for necessary action; while the Department of Culture said the restrictions for construction near monuments were being revisited and maps for each site would soon be published for the benefit of urban bodies for according quick approvals.

“Secretary [Consumer Affairs] said that the National Building Code-2015 will be finalised by September this year with the objective of enabling single window clearance for construction projects,” the official said.

To reduce number of approvals and no-objections required for taking up new projects