Monday, Oct 20, 2014

Civic body yet to register builders, hold them accountable for illegalities

BMC had found that the three builders of Campa Cola flats had added illegal floors to the seven buildings without the BMC’s permission. (PTI) BMC had found that the three builders of Campa Cola flats had added illegal floors to the seven buildings without the BMC’s permission. (PTI)
Written by Sharvari Patwa | Mumbai | Posted: February 22, 2014 5:37 am | Updated: February 22, 2014 6:10 am

Even as the BMC contemplates regularisation of illegal flats at Worli’s Campa Cola Compound, it is yet to start the much promised project to register builders and hold them accountable in case of illegalities.

In the wake of the proposed demolition of 35 illegal floors at the Campa Cola Compound, the civic administration had proposed to revive a 2002 plan to register builders and also recommended blacklisting and de-registration of builders, who failed to adhere to the stipulated norms.

The BMC had found that the three builders of Campa Cola flats had added illegal floors to the seven buildings without the BMC’s permission. In February 2013, SC had ordered demolition of all the floors after the fifth one, holding them as illegal.

A senior civic official said, “We have not yet begun the process of registering builders. But, now that the Maharashtra Housing Act, 2012, has been approved, we will begin the process of scrutinising and registering builders.”

Shirish Sukhatme of Practising Engineers Architects & Town Planning Association (PEATA) said, “The registration of builders will ensure that those builders who take advantage of ignorant buyers will be under scrutiny. They will also have the fear of losing their license with the BMC.”

The proposal, which had been sent to the state government for approval, was aimed at builders who took advantage of ignorant buyers and sold flats without obtaining the mandatory occupation certificate (OC).

The absence of OC can imply that a builder is not adhering to approved plans, exploiting floor space index and violating fire safety guidelines.

While the BMC reminded the state government of the proposal in 2008 and suggested mandatory registration by builders must come with information about the size of the company, details of partners and shareholders, office addresses and projects underway, it continues to lie in cold storage.

Senior civic officials said the proposal and repeated reminders were pending with the state urban development department. In the recent proposal,the BMC has also recommended penalty for builders indulging in malpractices, a minimum fine of Rs 5 lakh and maximum of Rs 1 crore, if buildings are constructed without licenses.

In the case of highrises in the Campa Cola Compound, while residents have received notices for demolition, no action is being contemplated against the builders. Residents have alleged that builders Yusuf Patel, BK Gupta and PSB Construction Company raised the height of the buildingsbeyondtheapprovedplan.

sharvari.patwa@expressindia.com

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