Bhubaneswar, Aug. 28: Lala Subhash Chandra Ray had to wait for three years for the development authority to reply to his plan approval application.
Now that the authority has started grievance redress meetings, the 65-year-old hoped his problems would soon be over. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened either.
The retired air force employee said the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) replied to his application to get the plan approval to add another floor to his one-storey house in March, that too, after his family members ran from pillar to post and coughed up about Rs 8,000 to get the job done.
“An official said there was a deviation in the building, which was minor in nature. I am ready to pay the fine and construct the building, but they won’t allow me,” said Ray.
Ray said his family members and he had been to the BDA office over 20 times in the past few months to try and get the plan approved, but to no avail.
“The deviation is minor in nature. I have already bought construction materials. Moreover, my son is going to marry in November and we will need the extra floor after that. But, the authorities continue to pay no heed to my problem and even said my application had gone missing,” said Ray.
Finally, when the BDA announced its grievance redress meetings to address plan related problems, Ray found new hope and attended the August 2 meeting.
“On that day, the BDA officials assured me that my problem would be resolved within 10 days. But that hasn’t happened.”
He said the authorities then told him to attend the next meeting (on August 16) by which time his complaint would be redressed. But till August 23, his problem was far from being resolved.
The BDA started holding grievance redress meetings regarding planning matters from August this year, as many of the complaints that had been pouring in were related to building plans. The vice-chairman of the BDA redresses grievances every Monday. Besides, a BDA lok adalat is held once every three months.
But people coming to attend the grievance redress meetings have complained that the authorities were not properly addressing their problems and they were being made to run to the authority’s office frequently.
Prasant Kumar Satpathy, 39, an employee with Odisha Construction Company (OCC) Limited, underwent a kidney operation two weeks ago. But he had to rush to the BDA office on Friday to attend a grievance redress meeting about his plot at Raghunathpur.
A proposed government road might run through his plot.
However, after a 15-minute discussion with the officials at the office of the planning member, he seemed unhappy with the assurances given. He was accompanied by two other people, who also have plots affected by the same road. Bishnu Charan Ray, a retired OCC employee, who was with Satpathy, said he was a heart patient, but had to come to BDA on Friday to appeal to the authorities to allow them to build their houses on their plots.
“We had bought the land in 2007 at Raghunathpur. But, we came to know last year that the comprehensive development plan prepared by the BDA with the help of IIT Kharagpur proposes a road connecting KIIT Square with Nandankanan which passes through our plots. We want to build our houses, but the authorities are not allowing us to do so,” said Bishnu Ray, who had bought a 3,600sqft plot.
They said that though there were three roads connecting Chandrasekharpur with Nandankanan, the authorities were still keen on building one that would run through plots, belonging to more than 1,000 people.
“We told the authorities about our problems. They said after the zonal development plans were formed, they would look into our problems. We are patients and cannot run to the BDA so many times,” said Satpathy. He said that in the past four months, they had come to the BDA office four times.
Planning member of the BDA Pitabasa Sahoo said 113 complaints had been lodged last Friday and most of the cases had already been resolved.
“We are seeking clearances from other government agencies in certain cases, which is why they will take some more time to solve,” said Sahoo.
Why the need for grievance redress
To address complaints related to delay
in plan approval by BDA, illegal
constructions or deviations
When did BDA start grievance
The mechanism was set in motion
on August 2 this year
When are grievance redress
Every Friday, except holidays
Who represents BDA at these
Planning member, town planner and
other officials of planning department
What happens after a complainant
attends grievance redress meeting
Once a complainant approaches
grievance cell, officials discuss problems
with the person and give assurances
going by merits of case
An order is issued to the department/
official concerned to resolve the problem
If resolution of problem requires
intervention of any department other than planning, missives are sent to officials
concerned to resolve the complaint
Is there any time frame to resolve
There is no definite time frame for
grievance redress as resolution time
varies from case to case. Officials,
however, claim problems are resolved at the earliest. The delay occurs because of lengthy administrative process
What are the complaints against
grievance redress mechanism
Absence of a deadline to redress
grievance is biggest complaint