Friday, November 02, 2007

It's fine, but give time, say owners

It's fine, but give time, say owners
By Satish Shile & Fathima Sumaya Khan, DH News Service, Bangalore:
Seek instalment scheme for paying building regularisation fee.

It's time for setting right the wrongs. Lakhs of structures have been built in the City in violation of building norms. Now, it's time for owners to pay up for their wrongs, committed either knowingly or unknowingly.

The BBMP, which has set December 14 as the deadline for receiving applications for regularisation of deviations under ‘Sakrama’ scheme, is in no mood to extend the same.

The Palike is also not interested in collecting regularisation fee in instalments.

So far, the Palike has sold 1.5 lakh applications. The regularisation process is expected to fetch the civic body Rs 600 crore.

However, many building owners, especially middle-class and lower-middle class house owners, are finding it tough to pay the fine at one go.

The fee will be to the tune of thousands. For example, if a house has been built in an area where the guidance value is Rs 2,000 per sq ft, with excess floor area ratio of 500 sq ft, then the property owner has to pay Rs 1 lakh as regularisation fee as per the Palike formula.

Many Deccan Herald readers called up this office to air their views. They said it is not that they are against paying regularisation fee but they want to pay in instalments. But there are some who defend government’s move to collect the fee at one shot.

Here are the views of a section of the property owners.

I have constructed a four-storey building against approved plan. A junior BBMP engineer demanded bribe to allow me to go ahead with the construction. I paid him and completed the building. Now, the civic body is demanding a fee for regularising the deviation. I have no other way out, but to pay up. But I need at least four to five months for arranging the fee. Or, the Palike should provide loans through banks.
-Gopi, Chowdeshwari
Nagar, Marathahalli

Sakrama is a programme to earn profit for the Palike. Building owners are the losers. As per the building regulations, only ground plus two storeys are allowed in residential areas of Ulsoor. However, there are many four-storey buildings. That’s because Palike officers allowed them to do so by taking bribe.

Owners who have bribed officers have to pay regularisation fee again! Had they worked diligently, there would not have been any deviations in the City. But asking for fee in one instalment is highly condemnable. We should be allowed to pay at least in three instalments.
-Gopal, real estate
agent, Ulsoor

Deviations in Bangalore is a common phenomena. I own a building constructed almost 60 years ago. When the house was constructed, there was nothing called building regulations. If I wanted to regularise deviations committed decades ago, I have to pay lakhs as fee.

How can I pay so much at one go? At least three to four instalments are necessary.
-Srinivas, Kasturi Nagar

If violations are intentional, then the Palike should deal with them strictly and make them pay the regularisation fee at one go. However, it is unfair to collect fee from those who have got into the trap without their knowledge.
-Chandrakala, housewife

Regularisation fee should be collected in instalments. It will help people as it’s difficult to pay a lumpsum. Otherwise, the middle-class and the lower middle-class will be badly hit.

Residents should be more careful while taking up construction work or buying property.
-Jayarathnamma H M,
grocery store owner

Sakrama scheme is beneficial to the masses and it’s a welcome move by the Palike. But the Palike should allow owners to pay the regularisation fee in instalments. It’s hard for citizens to pay entire sum in one shot. The instalment scheme will give some respite to those who have committed violations unknowingly.
-E Shivanna, businessman

Officers who approved building plans which were in violation of norms should also be penalised so incidents do not recurt. In addition, the Palike should come up with measures which don’t give room for regularisation of encroached structures in future.
-N S Ramakanth, president, Kumara Park West Residents'
Welfare Association

*Last date for filing applications seeking regularisation is Dec 14

*Last date will not be extended at any cost

*Regularisation is a one-time measure. If last date is extended, then the objective will be lost

*Each zone has a screening committee to go through applications

*Only those applications approved by the committee will be regularised

The regularisation policy is silent on penalising officers, who issue occupancy certificates to erring owners.
However, a provision has been made to prosecute officers, who issue occupancy certificates to those violating building norms. But this will be applicable to those who issue certificates after the December 14 deadline, says Ramaprasad.


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