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Rules to check urban growth
- Building boom to be monitored

Patna, June 22: The urban development department is framing a list of guidelines called “apartment rules” to ensure enforcement of existing bylaws and regulate the construction and ownership of buildings in the state.

“Anomalies related to construction and ownership of apartments have become common owing to lack of regulatory measures. Therefore, we are in the final stages of framing the apartment rules for the state. This would help in strict enforcement of apartment bylaws, including the Bihar Apartment Ownership Act 2007. These rules are to be sent for cabinet approval before implementation. Such rules are aimed at protecting the rights of both owners and builders. At the same time, these would also augment revenue generation of urban local bodies,” said a senior officer in the urban development department, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

On June 14, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi had said builders would compulsorily need to register themselves. Sources said the proposed rules would make sure that only registered builders are allowed to construct apartments, that too after taking prior permission for construction.

According to the prevailing practice, maps and plans for an apartment are required to be sanctioned by a designated city architect before construction begins. But it does not matter whether the person seeking the sanction of maps is a builder or not. “The new rule would keep a check on unregulated growth of apartments at every nook or corner of the city which leads to haphazard development,” said the officer.

Under the prevailing bylaws in Patna, buildings which are more than 11 metres in height are recognised as “apartments”. The maximum height of the building along a 20-foot road is restricted to 14.99 metres (Ground+ 4 floors). Buildings on a 40-foot road is allowed up to 20 metres (Ground+ 6 floors). Moreover, the maximum permissible height for any building in Patna is 23 metres (Ground +7 floors).

The proposed rules say that all buildings over three floors would henceforth be considered “apartments”. Such provisions are aimed at increasing the revenue through collection of holding taxes by urban local bodies. At present, a residential plot is regarded as a single holding. Different flats in any apartment are considered separate holdings. The new guidelines would ensure that the practice of constructing many floors of single holdings and renting them out would be regulated.

The proposed rules would also have a provision for producing a completion certificate at the time of registration of flats. Flat owners do not necessarily need a completion certificate at the time of registry of plots at present.

The proposed rules would also make it the duty of the builders to hand over the flats to the owners within the stipulated time. Legal provisions for action against builders are laid down in the proposed rules. There is no specific provision in this regard in the existing Bihar Apartment Ownership Act 2007 and the buyer can take legal recourse only on the ground of “breach of agreement”, in case of delay in getting possession of the plot.

The proposed rules would have provisions for strict enforcement of compulsory amenity space of more than 100 square metres in all apartments. To protect the rights of builders, the proposed rules will include provisions for compulsory payment of maintenance expenses by the flat owners to the apartment owner or housing society.

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