Friday, November 20, 2009

Violations continue unabated; BBMP engineers turn blind eye

Violations continue unabated; BBMP engineers turn blind eye
Six-storeyed apartment constructed on 1200 sq ft area!
G Manjusainath, Bangalore, Nov 19, DH News Service

How many floors can be built on a site measuring 30 x 40 in Bangalore? The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is quite clear about it. “Maximum three floors. If anybody exceeds this, then it is a violation of the building bye-laws,” explained the Palike’s Joint Director of Town Planning Thirukangowdru.

But thanks to the new buzz about Akrama-Sakrama scheme, which is for regularising illegal structures, these guidelines have been thrown to the wind and building violations have become the order of the day in many parts of Bangalore. In Nandidurga Extension, a six-storeyed ‘apartment’ has come up on a 30 x 40 feet site. As the site is small, there is no space created to accommodate a lift.

Neighbours said this apartment will have flats as well as commercial establishments.
Another builder is also constructing a six-storeyed building in the same area. Since these structures are setting precedence for others, the worried neighbours formed a group and approached the Lokayukta.

Neighbours complained that the BBMP assistant engineer’s office is hardly a few metres away from the construction site. However, the assistant engineer turned a blind eye towards the violation of the building by-laws. When the local residents complained against the illegal construction and about the assistant engineer’s silence, the BBMP woke up to stop the construction work.

The only action BBMP took was to repatriate him to PWD. Now another assistant engineer has been appointed at Nandidurga Extension and another multi-storeyed building is coming up on a 30 x 40 site.

The story is being repeated across the City. The engineers in the BBMP are least concerned about action against them. They know well that the BBMP cannot initiate action against 90 per cent of them because their parent organisation is not the BBMP but the Public Works Department of the State government. “The maximum we can do is transfer them to their parent organisation and suggest their bosses to suspend them,” said a BBMP official. Corrupt officers are gradually eating up the City, he added.

Taking up the case seriously, the BBMP commissioner recently issued a directive to the engineers that he would file a criminal case against them if they allow building bye-law violations and do not report the matter to their higher-ups.

When contacted in this regard, the BBMP Commissioner Bharatlal Meena confirmed that such buildings were illegal and such structures could not be allowed to stand for long. When asked whether the BBMP can take action against those engineers who are working in the Palike on deputation, the commissioner said the Palike may not initiate action directly, it can recommend to their parent organisation to take disciplinary step against them. In addition to it, the BBMP has decided to file criminal cases against the engineers as well.

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