BMC proposal seeking builder accountability in cold storage

Had a BMC proposal to make registration of builders compulsory been approved,the three developers who added illegal floors to the high rises in Campa Cola Compound in Worli could be held accountable.

Written by Sharvari Patwa | Published: April 30, 2013 4:37:08 am

Had a BMC proposal to make registration of builders compulsory been approved,the three developers who added illegal floors to the high rises in Campa Cola Compound in Worli could be held accountable.

In the absence of such a mechanism,the builders are unlikely to face the music.

The proposal,which also recommended blacklisting and de-registration of builders not adhering to norms,has been lying in cold storage for the past 10 years.

Senior BMC officials said former municipal commissioner Karun Srivastava sent the proposal to the state government in 2002. The objective was not only to increase accountability but also ensure builders complied with BMC norms.

The proposal was aimed at builders who take advantage of ignorant buyers and sell flats without obtaining the mandatory occupation certificate (OC). The absence of OC could mean a builder is not adhering to approved plans,exploiting FSI and violating fire safety guidelines.

“One needs a stronger regulatory mechanism to ensure homebuyers are not duped. Proper disclosure by a builder is a must. In the absence of registration,BMC has no mechanism to ensure a builder is genuine,” said municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte.

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 under way.

Bylaws approved by the BMC law,revenue and general purposes committee in June 2008 also suggested the right to reject or grant developers a licence or registration should rest with the civic chief.

“The proposals and repeated reminders are pending with the state urban development department,” a senior civic official said.

BMC also recommended penalty for builders indulging in malpractices — a minimum fine of Rs 5 lakh and maximum Rs 1 crore if buildings are constructed without licences and approvals.

A senior civic official responsible for approving building plans said,“Sometimes BMC gets a hint that a builder is engaging in malpractices but how do we reject his proposals? Also,one cannot keep a check on such builders without proper disclosures.”

In the case of the high rises in Campa Cola Compound,while residents have received notices for demolition,no action is being contemplated against builders. Residents alleged builders Yusuf Patel,BK Gupta and PSB Construction Company raised the height of all seven buildings beyond approved plans.

“Residents continue to live in buildings that do not have valid occupation certificates. Developers often fleece buyers. They construct illegal buildings and disappear,” said Shirish Sukhatme,president of Practising Engineers Architects and Town Planners Association.

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