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Maintain building’s facade or face penalty

mumbai Updated: Mar 18, 2011 00:51 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times
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You may soon have to take responsibility for maintaining the exteriors of your building, such as fixing the ugly cracks and hanging wires or cables, or face penalty.

The state urban development department’s proposed legislation, which aims at beautifying the urban space, was approved despite opposition in the assembly on Thursday.

The legislation is yet to get a nod from the state council.

Presiding officer of the state assembly, Vasant Purke, got the bill cleared even as the Opposition was on its feet shouting slogans against the government’s attitude towards the incident of police thrashing Maharashtra Navnirman Sena legislator Harshawardhan Jadhav in January.

The amendment to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 2010, pins responsibility of maintaining the building on its occupiers and owners. This means you have to avoid a state of disrepair in terms of cracks, stains, broken walls, hanging wires or cables and shabby enclosures.

The bill empowers the municipal commissioner to send notices to owners or occupiers for failing to maintain the building’s exteriors and ask them to repair the same.

If the occupier fails to do the same within a month, the municipal commissioner can get the work done by the civic staff, and recover the repair charges from the residents.

In case, the occupier fails to pay up within a stipulated period, he or she could be charged a penal interest at 2%.

These charges can be added to property tax and recovered from the residents.

Bhaskar Jadhav, minister of state for urban development, said the legislation aimed at creating aesthetic harmony and improving the look of our city.

The amendment had failed to get approval in the last two sessions.

But the legislation could pose a problem in Mumbai where tenants continue to pay pittance as rent in thousands of dilapidated buildings.

Moreover, there is a constant strife over maintenance between tenants and landlords. So, residents are unlikely to willingly pay for such repairs.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Devendra Phadnavis said: “The bill lacks clarity… When we have failed to provide basic amenities like sewerage, water supply to our citizens, we are not in a position to charge them not beautifying their premises.”

He added that most European cities have similar aesthetic codes for buildings, but it was too premature for our city to try and imbibe this instead of focusing on overcoming infrastructure deficit.

BJP legislator Prakash Mehta said, “The BMC is not responsive towards basic duties like maintaining clean roads and this bill expects the staff to repair building compounds.”