The Telegraph
Wednesday , May 11 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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TARGET: 1.82 lakh TIME: 6 months
Ordinance deals building blow to staff-starved RMC

Ranchi, May 10: Civic functionaries across the state, particularly in the capital, are staring at a Herculean task to implement an ordinance promulgated to regularise buildings constructed in violation of norms to snuff out swelling protests against a court mandated anti-encroachment drive.

According to a survey carried out by the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) last year, there are 1.97 lakh houses in various categories in the capital and only 15,000 of them have maps okayed by the Ranchi Regional Development Authority (RRDA), the agency entrusted with the task of approving building plans till last year.

Currently, the sanction rights lie with the RMC, which has to make right the wrong — an enormous one at that — in six months flat. And the biggest challenge is acute manpower crunch.

The RRDA and RMC together have 17 junior and assistant engineers against the sanctioned strength of 44. While the RMC will have to bear the onus of regularising buildings constructed without, or in deviation of, approved maps, the RRDA will shoulder the responsibility outside the corporation’s jurisdiction.

“We are planning to write to the state urban development department, seeking more engineers. A proposal is being drawn up. At present, we have only four junior engineers, two assistant engineers and a town planner — an inadequate team considering the mammoth task ahead,” RMC chief executive officer (CEO) Vinay Kumar Choubey said.

Although the law — Jharkhand Regularisation of Unauthorised/Deviated Constructions Through Compounding in Urban Areas Ordinance, 2011 — is valid for six months after it is published in the government gazette, civic bosses fear the job would take no less than a couple of years. And in some cases, maybe over five years. “We will try to finish the task as soon as possible,” Choubey asserted.

In Dhanbad, the Mineral Area Development Board (Mada), which enjoys the right to sanction building plans in the coal capital and a few other areas, is also grappling with staff crunch in its engineering wing. Against the sanctioned strength of 10 junior engineers, only two are on duty, while against all the four posts of assistant engineer are lying vacant.

State additional secretary-cum-director (municipal administration) Sunil Kumar, however, allayed fears of inordinate delay. He claimed the urban development department would provide manpower, as and when required, to expedite the process of regularising buildings.

The ordinance, meanwhile, is yet to reach the state law department, which will publish a gazette notification after which the ordinance shall be effective for implementation by civic bodies.

Building plan sanction applications, in lieu of a prefixed fee, will have to be routed through a junior engineer, assistant engineer, town planner (in case of big cities), deputy CEOs and CEOs. There are over 40 corporations, municipalities and notified area committees across the state.

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