Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Discount season for violators

Discount season for violators

Cabinet panel okays akrama sakrama with lower fine for plan deviations

Srikanth Hunasavadi. Bangalore



In a clear civic poll eve gesture, the cabinet sub-committee on Tuesday decided to reduce the penalty charged under the Akrama-Sakrama scheme to regularise illegal structures up to 60% for residential buildings and 20 to 25% for commercial ones.
Once formalised, the decision is expected to benefit over seven lakh violators of building laws in the city.
The cabinet sub-committee, headed by Transport minister R Ashok, decided to reduce the penalty to benefit the poor. The state government had passed the Akrama Sakrama scheme three years ago, but there was massive opposition to it since the penalties charged under it were found to be too high. It was then that the government set up a committee under the chairmanship of R Ashok.
With this scheme, the state government plans to collect around Rs4,000 crore. The funds are proposed to be used for the massive Rs22,000-crore development package proposed for the city.
The committee will send recommendations to the Cabinet, and the matter will come up before the state cabinet next week. Once cabinet approval is granted to it, an ordinance will be issued to amend the original Akrama Sakrama scheme.
The scheme is likely to come into effect within 15 days. Those violating floor area ratio, or those who have established buildings in areas earmarked for civic amenities or in violation of by-laws can send in applications for regularisation of their buildings.
The scheme will be applicable across the state, and discounts in penalties will be granted to all violators of building norms.
Earlier, the penalty amount was fixed at a minimum of Rs72,000 and maximum of Rs4,23,000. Now, the cabinet sub-committee has decided to put a cap of a minimum amount of Rs30,000 and maximum of Rs2,10,000. The penalty amount will depend on the extent of the violation.
The committee was unanimous about the need for reduction in penalty imposed on residential buildings, but there was more vigorous discussion about whether the violators of commercial building norms too should be granted concession.
It was later decided that the penalty be reduced even for commercial building violations. If the extent of the violation is 12.5%, then a reduction in penalty to the extent of 20- 25% of the fee fixed earlier will be charged, while if the violation is over 12.5%, a reduction of 35-40% has been proposed. The scheme is applicable for all buildings already constructed

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