The draft building bye-laws drew flak from builders and house buyers alike over the past couple of days for its alleged strict norms.
The builders trashed the bye-laws, claiming that the real estate activities in the city would come to a grinding halt once it is implemented. A section of people claimed that the norms were inspired by the building rules in practice in Odisha capital Bhubaneswar. (See graphic)
“The proposed building bye-laws are replication of the one followed in Bhubaneswar. The density of population in Bhubaneswar is 270 per sqkm. In sharp contrast, it is 1,135 per sqkm in Patna. Moreover, the national rate of urbanisation in India is 31 per cent but that for Bihar is just 11 per cent. Thus, the state government should make the bye-laws more practical for a city like Patna,” said Dipak Chaurasiya, the councillor from ward No. 2.
S. Siddharth, the secretary of the urban development and housing department, claimed that the municipal act of Bihar and Odisha were almost similar and Patna and Bhubaneswar had witnessed almost identical growth pattern.
Siddharth had released the proposed building bye-laws of the state last Saturday. The voluminous document running 130 pages is available on the website of the department (www.urban.bih.nic.in) and its citizen grievance redressal website (www.nagarseva.in) for residents to give their feedback.
The maiden building bye-laws of the state was eagerly awaited over the past several years. But it drew sharp criticism from different sections of the society after it was posted on public domain.
According to the draft bye-laws, the minimum land required for the construction of multi-storeyed apartments (G+1 and above) is around six cottahs. It states that the minimum width of the approach road to a plot should be 9m for non-high-rise (G+3 and below) buildings and 12m for high-rise (G+4 and higher) apartments. Both the parameters have peeved the realtors.
Sachin Chandra, the state chairman of Builders’ Association of India’s Bihar chapter, said: “How many roads in Patna are wide enough to meet such stringent width criteria? Real estate development would come down to almost zero after the strict provisions of the proposed building bye-laws are implemented. It is not at all practical and against the interest of common man.”
Several residents also claimed that they would not be able to build houses because of the minimum road width criteria of 20ft for carrying out any construction.
“I have a plot in the Kurji-Digha area but the width of the abutting road is only around 15ft. So, does it mean that instead of constructing my house on the plot I would have to do gardening there?” asked O.P. Yadav, a resident of Gardanibagh.
The proposed floor area ratio also drew flak from some people. Chaurasiya, the councillor, said: “The floor area ratio of a city is determined only after its master plan is ready. Patna still does not have it, but the floor area ratio has been fixed in the bye-laws.”
Despite criticism from different quarters, authorities claimed that no relaxations would be made with regard to the road width criteria. “The criteria related to the required length and width of the road for different categories of buildings has been laid down according to the Clause 4 of National Building Code (NBC). NBC regulates building construction activities across the country and the state government does not have the power to provide any relaxation on its own,” said Siddharth, the urban development and housing secretary.
The Clause IV of NBC, 2005 is attached with the draft of the proposed building bye-laws as annexure-II.
Siddharth said the deadline for accepting feedback on the proposed building bye-laws had been extended to December 31 following requests from different stakeholders. Earlier, the last date was December 25.
“The meeting with the stakeholders has also been rescheduled,” he said.
The consultation meeting with various stakeholders, including builders, architects and engineers, would now be conducted on December 28 instead of December 22.