In a spot
Ranchi, June 10: The Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has stopped providing water connections to unauthorised buildings in the state capital under the Suvidha Tax clause, claiming that it was confused over the contradictory nature of two directives issued by the state government.
The directives in question are: the Suvidha Tax code introduced by the government a year ago and the recently passed ordinance to regularise unauthorised buildings.
Under Suvidha Tax norms, the civic body can provide water lines to those unauthorised buildings that have come on green land, open space and litigated land after charging a one-time fine of Rs 500. According to a rough estimate, over 1.2 lakh buildings have been built on such land in the state capital. These buildings cannot have their maps approved by the designated authorities, as the nature of land on which they are built does not allow constructions.
But once the directive was passed, the civic body started accepting applications for water connections from the owners of these unauthorised buildings. Around 1,500 houses have already taken the benefits of Suvidha Tax and got drinking water lines in the past year. Now, about 1,000 applications are lying with the civic body.
But the Jharkhand Regularisation of Unauthorised/Deviated Constructions through Compounding in Urban Areas Ordinance, 2011, which was promulgated on May 9, has stalled the exercise.
RMC officials point out that the ordinance — valid for six months — prohibits regularisation of buildings constructed on land transferred in contravention of the CNT/SPT Acts, public open space/green belts designated by the RRDA. It further says: “All unauthorised constructions that are not regularised under this ordinance shall be liable for disconnection of supply water and electricity.”
“As the provisions of the two directives are contradictory, the civic body has stopped providing water connections under Subidha Tax,” said Gopaljee Tiwari, deputy chief executive officer of RMC.
“We have written to the state government and can act only after getting necessary directions,” he added.
However, Arvind Singh Deol, a standing committee member of RMC, said: “The ordinance talks of snapping of water lines to such houses that fail to regularise themselves in six months. It does not directly bar the civic body from giving fresh water connections with Suvidha Tax.”
The civic body has also written to the urban development department about a week ago. Urban development secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni, however, told The Telegraph that there was no confusion over the two directives.
“The ordinance deals specifically with regularisation of such constructions that are unauthorised; and it has little to do with essential civic amenities like water connections. The civic body can abide by the earlier directive,” said Kulkarni.