Bhubaneswar, April 8: Violation of building regulations has become the order of the day with Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) looking the other way.
Two years ago, BDA officials had in a survey identified those who were either violating building plans or land use patterns. In doing so they are either deviating from the original architectural plan or using residential house for commercial purpose. But, so far there has been no action against the violators.
In 2010, BDA conducted a survey in a residential area near Jayadev Vihar. In this area, 51 plots had been allotted for residential purpose, but officials had found that most of the houses had violated the BDA regulations.
While some had violated the original building plan by constructing bigger structures in disregard of the Odisha Development Authority (ODA) Act, majority of them have started using the houses for commercial purpose in violation of the land-use pattern.
BDA vice-chairman Deoranjan Kumar Singh said: “We had given notice to the violators on two occasions and they have responded. Now many want to change the land-use pattern from residential to commercial, but it depends on the state government’s decision. So if the state government will not allow the change, the violators have to abide by the rules under ODA Act. It may even lead to cancellation of the allotment.’’
“Section 91 of the ODA Act, 1982, says beneficiaries of residential plots may lose their allotment if they are found to be using the land for commercial purpose. However, we are giving them enough time to act,’’ added a senior BDA official.
The BDA sample survey had found that while 24 houses were using their premises for commercial use, 43 owners changed the construction pattern. In the residential area, houses were turned into office premises, malls and corporate offices.
A senior official of BDA said the violations were assessed according to the reports of the “amins” (revenue officials who measure land) and cases are filed in the legal section where an officer on special duty settles them.
“If the land owners do not comply, then we go to demolish them with the squad. However, without proper demolition squad, the enforcement activity cannot function effectively,’’ she said.
The BDA vice-chairman said the demolition squad was yet to act as the designated police force had not come up yet.
Officials of the BDA’s enforcement wing said: “There are nearly 19,000 cases of building regulation violations and the authorities have taken action in nearly 250 cases so far. On the other hand, the enforcement wing of BDA includes one lady officer and four assistants only.’’
Urban management practitioner Piyush Ranjan Rout said the change in land use pattern lead to several other hassles. The first would be the change in holding tax rate being collected by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation. Besides the change in land use pattern will involve several issues such as infrastructure requirement, disaster mitigation, fire-fighting measures, garbage disposal, traffic and crime profile of the area.
With change in land use the infrastructure requirements such as sewerage, drainage, power supply and solid waste management will be different. So the authorities have to adopt permanent measures to handle the situation. “Even the local police should be aware of the land-use change as they have to get themselves prepared,’’ Rout added.