Friday, April 28, 2006

BMP plays cool to zoning violations

BMP plays cool to zoning violations
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Last month the Supreme Court ordered the commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to act on land use violations and seal the premises of residences put to commercial use.

The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) are faced with similar violations, but to tackle them the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act needs an amendment, said BMP commissioner K Jothiramalingam.

That means the government isn’t really planning to get tough on violations.

The apex court has said that the MCD Act gave sufficient powers to the commissioner to seal the misuser presmises after examining the DDA Act and MCD Act. But the KMC Act has no equivalent provision except the one covering basements of buildings. And based on that strength, the BMP would soon seal kitchens in the basements of chowltries that have no licence from the health department.

While the BDA sanctions changes in land use, it has no powers to stop misuse and the BMP is limited by the KMC Act. “BMP will apprise the government of the legal limitations of the BMP and seek an amendment to the Act,” said Jothiramalingam.

On the other hand, the High Court order on a PIL by city cardiologist Dr Devi Shetty on land use violations in Koramangala had no impact on the system. While the BMP conducted a survey of buildings used in violation of land use rules, no premises was sealed.

Another aspect that weakened the BMP is the government’s proposal to regularise offset violations for a fine and the BMP had been estimating revenue from the regularisation every year.

“The proposal had been before the government for last two years and once that comes through, the BMP would be clear about the action on violators,” said Jothiramalingam.


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