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House on fringes, check with BDA

Bhubaneswar, May 8: Those planning to purchase a house on the city outskirts beware!

The Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) has notified that building plan approval taken from the local panchayat or the block development officer after March 29, 2010, will be treated as “illegal” and “unauthorised”.

A valid building plan will require the approval of the development authority.

Without the development authority’s nod, according to the notification issued on May 3, residents will not be issued occupancy certificates. The notification also warned the public against sell or purchase of such buildings or apartments.

Occupancy certificate is a document, which is issued to an apartment owner. It means that the house is legally ready for occupation. Without the certificate, additional benefits such as water, electricity and sewerage connections are not given by other government-run organisations within the authority’s limits.

The development authority’s notice, issued on May 3, stated that anyone going for building plan approval within Bhubaneswar, Pipili, Balianta, Jatni and Khurda blocks other than the development authority would do it at own risk.

The approval by the panchayat or block-level officials has become meaningless with the new notice.

Planning member of the development authority Pitabas Sahoo said: “The comprehensive development plan was implemented in March 2010, and the panchayati raj department declared that the panchayat or block development officers had no right to issue plan approval. But, we keep on receiving complaints regarding the practice.”

On April 26, Sahoo issued a letter to the Balianta block development officer regarding approval of a five-storey structure.

“As the developer submitted a building plan approval by the block development officer on June 20, 2011, we have sought the officer’s explanation as this violates the provision of the Orissa Development Authorities Act, 1982. The officer was asked to file a report within a month,” Sahoo said.

“I took charge as the Balianta block development officer last month. I got the letter from the development authority’s planning member and will reply who had actually given the approval to the concerned builder to construct the multi-storey in the block,” said Balianta block development officer R.C. Sethi.

In 2010, IIT-Kharagpur prepared the development plan for 205 villages consisting of an area of 419sqkm.

On July 18, 2011, the plan area was increased to 1,110sqkm, adding 351 more villages.

“With such a big plan area, we are acting on specific complaints received from the new development zone on the city outskirts. Therefore, we have written to the Khurda collector to co-operate with us, so that such illegal practice stops,” Sahoo said.

Real estate developer Umesh Patnaik said: “Technically, the development authority should be looking after the development of the infrastructure, and the building plan approval should be the municipal corporation’s job. As the authority’s limits consist of municipal and panchayat areas, the district planning committee should take up the plan approval of localities other than the urban areas. But there is no provision for that.”

Raju Rao, a trader who has a plot on the city outskirts, said: “The development authority should deploy adequate field employees to check plan approval in the panchayat areas. Only issuing notices will not help.”