The Telegraph
Monday , January 20 , 2014
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People hit in dual power play

- Sundarpara grows, but civic facilities far cry
Apartment blocks coming up along Sundarpada. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 19: The stretch along the Sundarpada-Jatni road on the city outskirts has become one of the crowded localities with many high-rise apartments crowding the area, but drinking water supply, sewerage and approach roads are still a far cry.

After extension of the Bhubaneswar Development Authority’s limit in 2010, the entire area up to Jatni has come under its jurisdiction. However, the area’s revenue administration is still under the Jatni block.

This existence of dual authority has created space for developers working in the area to manipulate.

Sources said that while many apartment blocks have become operational and several are under construction, there are buildings that have got their plans approved from the block development officer (BDO) and not the development authority.

However, the authenticity of these approved plans requires scrutiny, as it’s not known when these permissions were granted.

“In 2010, a notification issued by panchayati raj department said that the BDOs can no longer give building permission, but in reality real estate developers got some from them and sold a few properties to customers using fake documents,’’ said an officer with the revenue department.

“I have not given a single permission to any apartment block till date. But it is true that some apartments have such permissions in their possession,’’ said Jatni BDO Ashutosh Samal.

Major hurdles

Apart from civic issues, waterlogging and flooding have become a major threat to the locality, especially the road to the left of the embankment from Sundarpada to Jatni.

Waterlogging, however, is not an issue for roads to the right of the embankment. But after Phailin and subsequent rain lashed the state, these areas went underwater.

“The 2011 floods in the Mahanadi river system created havoc in the area and many apartment blocks had to be evacuated. But neither the real estate developers, nor those wanting to build a house in the area are abiding by the rules. It is certainly going to create more sewerage and drainage related complications as many apartments have come up with their own system,’’ said Manoranjan Ray, a real estate developer.

The delay in taking up the area under the municipal corporation limits has also irked people.

“As real estate development is on the rise, inclusion of the area within corporation limits will give some hope for the local residents as it was the case with Pahala in 2008,’’ said Manu Parida.

Aparna Mondal, a resident of an apartment in Padhansahi locality, said: “We bought the apartment in summer, we got to know the difficulties of residing in the area only when it rained. Now, even little rain leaves the area waterlogged. Water also gets accumulated in the basement of our apartment as the sewerage lines overflows.’’

Enforcement officer of the development authority, Debaprasad Dash, said: “The planning wing has to scrutinise the plan approval condition of the high-rise structures. If they forward any case to us, only then can we take action. However, none of the structures figure in the list of building to be demolished on Sundarpada-Jatni road.