The Calcutta Municipal Corporation will allow additional construction of 15 per cent of the covered area without any permission or extra charge for buildings up to two storeys, a decision many say might lead to even more illegal constructions.
Now, the owner of a building has to get a fresh plan sanctioned for any additional construction against a payment.
The mayoral council of the civic body on Friday ratified the proposal on additional construction.
“The 15 per cent extension will be allowed on any portion of the building, vertical or horizontal. Not just legally-constructed buildings, the new rule will apply to illegal structures, too,” mayor Sovan Chatterjee told Metro.
According to the mayor, the rule is likely to be implemented from this month.
Civic sources said there were around 1.25 lakh legally constructed single- and double-storeyed buildings in Calcutta. The number of illegal buildings of similar height is more than two lakh.
The civic authorities said the move would reduce bribery for permission to extend a building. “Under the existing rules, it’s almost impossible to get plans sanctioned for any extension of a building,” said an official.
The rules state that permission to extend a building is given only if there is surplus floor area ratio (FAR) — the ratio of the size of a plot to the width of the road in front of it.
“In almost all cases, the buildings hardly have any surplus FAR and so they don’t get permission for extension,” the official pointed out.
A section of CMC insiders as well as those involved in the building business said the new rule would result in a spurt in illegal constructions as it will be difficult to tell whether the extension is within 15 per cent.
CMC sources said there was not enough manpower to ensure that the extension was limited to 15 per cent of the total covered area.
The owners who want to extend the buildings will have to give an intimation to the CMC. “The infrastructure to check the covered area of a building is not there. So, we’ll have to depend on the intimation of the owner. It will be difficult to measure each building undergoing such extension and ensure that it is within the prescribed limit,” an official in the civic buiding department pointed out.
Besides, there is no provision for penalty for false declarations.
For illegal constructions the problem is much more severe, said another official of the building department. All illegal constructions, he pointed out, have more covered area than legal ones.
“So, illegal buildings will automatically get more additional area compared to legal ones. Also, since we have no records of covered areas of illegal structures, there is no way we can know whether the 15 per cent cap is being maintained,” he pointed out.