Getting building maps approved a Herculean task

  • Harshraj Singh, Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
  • Updated: Dec 29, 2014 10:59 IST

Locals are a harried lot when it comes to getting approval for maps for the construction of buildings in the city.

There is no stop on illegal construction across the largest city in the state, as residents who fail to get their maps approved are generally forced to go in for unauthorised settlements with some officials concerned. The municipal corporation (MC) has also failed to bring transparency in the approval system.

It has been learnt that only 10% of the maps get approval and majority of the people are forced to use unauthorised ways to construct their buildings. Due to lack of awareness about building bylaws, the residents are generally seen searching for agents at the MC offices so that they can approach the staff concerned for “unauthorised settlement” to avoid any action.

A 40-year-old city resident said, “I have been visiting the MC office for the past several months and objections were being raised every time. There was nobody to give me correct information about the norms. If I construct my building without approval then they can demolish it. I am ready to pay any fee but do not want any unauthorised settlement with any official.”

“More than 10,000 buildings are constructed every year in the city, but maps of only 800-1,000 buildings get approved. Other people are forced to visit agents or find out solution in an unauthorised manner as they lack knowledge about the norms,” said Inder Aggarwal, councillor from ward number 18.

He said, “We have requested the MC authorities to define the old areas for which there is no provision of development charges.

Some officials of the building branch generally misguide residents. There is a need to send proposal to the government to bring amendment to make norms easy. I will also raise the matter in the next House meeting.”

Earlier, outgoing MC commissioner Pradeep Kumar Agarwal had ordered to conduct two different surveys that revealed that around 2,500 buildings are being constructed illegally in the city.

An RTI activist claimed, “It has been learnt that the residential maps are approved but the buildings that are being constructed are commercial in many of areas of the city. I had raised matter of illegal construction and then challans were issued. However, on-the-spot assessment was not done to check compoundable or non-compoundable construction in many cases.”

Complaints were made to local bodies minister Anil Joshi during his surprise visit on June 16 that the maps of buildings were generally not passed for long time due to which people were forced to construct illegal buildings.

The minister had warned the officials to not harass people by marking objections every time and asked them to mark all objections, if any, at once, so that the residents do not make repeated visits to the MC office.

With the new commissioner GK Singh likely to join the office on Monday, residents wished that he brings more transparency in the working of the MC’s building branch so that they are not made to suffer.

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