Red-tape seems to be rampant phenomenon in the online building permissions department of Bhopal Municipal Corporation, in which nothing has changed even after seven officers were removed after irregularities were found.
Applicants say the time frame set for approval of a building permission is one month; however a lot of time is wasted by the officials dilly-dallying. “It took me 3 months to get an approval for a plot. I was not notified earlier about any dues or taxes ever but when I went to seek the building permission I was asked to pay Rs 50,000 against fee and taxes. The fee for the approval was in between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000. However suddenly all taxes cropped up,” says Irshad Quereshi, an applicant talking to the Hindustan Times.
“There are in total eight steps for getting permission approved, but for every stage one need to come in person or else the file gathers dust. Also the powerful get their work done through ministers and sources but for a common man, getting approval is a tough task,” says, Vinita Pandey, an applicant.
Sources say the lackadaisical approach of the department has led to a rise of illegal buildings which go unchecked by the department. According to norms, penalty equivalent to 15-50 times of regular building permission fees can be imposed on illegal building cases.
BMC former commissioner Tejaswi Naik had removed five engineers over irregularities in the department in March. Prior to this the city planner Sunita Singh and additional commissioner GP Malli were also shown the way out.
It all began when a team of World Bank visited Bhopal in March for a conference on ‘Ease of Doing Business’. The team mentioned online building permissions after which Urban Administration Development (UAD) commissioner Vivek Agarwal set deputy director Mayank Verma and state co-cordinator City Managers Association CU Roy for a probe in the building permissions department.
Agarwal also issued probe orders in 14 municipal corporations across the state, later in a statement given to HT he called it ‘reformation and streamlining of online building permissions system’.