The Bombay high court’s move to put on hold the regularisation of 56,000 buildings has yet again highlighted the rampant violations in the real estate sector.
A majority of these breaches are carried out by builders, but it is the residents who are punished in the form of increase tax and property tax, say activists.
A division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice AP Bhangale, which was hearing a PIL filed by social activist Rajendra Thacker, passed an interim order on Monday, asking the state government not to act against these structures for at least six weeks.
The government had indicated its willingness to allow civic chief Sitaram Kunte’s proposal to regularise the buildings by offering some concessions or levying a fee.
“The builders carry out unauthorised constructions, but leave the flat owners to deal with consequences. And civic officials, who are supposed to monitor the work, help these builders,” said Thacker.
He said it was time the government brought both builders and corrupt officials to book or the city will continue to face the same problems even in the future.
A majority of these structures do not have occupation certificate (OC). This means that residents have to pay double the amount of water and property tax.
Though the rules clearly state that the builders should not give possession till the OC has been issued, they are hardly followed.
Various violations such as consuming more floor space index (FSI) than permitted, illegal alterations, failure to build compound walls or other amenities as specified or non-payment of dues are some of the factors because of which the OC may not be granted.
According to housing activist and advocate Vinod Sampat, these violations affect the quality of life in the city. “These violations cause a huge strain on the existing infrastructure, apart from causing havoc on the overall quality of life,” he said.