The Telegraph
Thursday , July 3 , 2014
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July 10 meet on realty penalty

Using your basement to run or rent a shop while your car or bike stays parked on the road? Not for long, warns Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC).

The civic body, which has identified 46 buildings in its command area that are involved in rampant breach of basement norms, will hold a meeting with East Singhbhum district administration on July 10 to work out penalty modalities for violators.

Those who will attend the meeting include East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal, additional deputy commissioner Ganesh Kumar, JNAC special officer Deepak Sahay and subdivisional officer Prem Ranjan.

According to norms, a basement can be used for parking vehicles, storing generators and serving as a resting-place for security guards.

Going by basement norms of National Building Code, 85 per cent space has to be used for parking and rest 15 per cent space for sheltering private security guards and storing generator sets.

Anything else is illegal.

But JNAC special officer Deepak Sahay said basements are used for numerous commercial activities.

“During our physical verification, my team found basements being used for everything, from running restaurants to tailoring shops, coffee corners and photography studios. These unauthorised commercial hubs will have to be demolished once we get a nod from East Singhbhum deputy commissioner’s office during the July 10 meeting,” he said.

He added basement violation was a thriving culture at market complexes and residential apartments across prime realty spaces — Bistupur, Sakchi, Kadma and Sonari.

As basements run lucrative businesses, two-wheelers and cars line up on roads, hogging space meant for traffic.

In 2012, JNAC had launched a drive to demolish shops and office premises to make room for parking. Then special officer JNAC Sunil Kumar had demolished more than a dozen basements in Sakchi, Bistupur and Sonari, asking owners of buildings to modify basements exclusively for parking.

The building owners were supposed to clear the basement space within a stipulated period of one month. Most of the builders sought time, declaring they would follow the civic body instructions.

However, the builders never did so. The well-entrenched shops and commercial set-ups in the basements continued to flourish.

Any move to dislodge the basement shops promises a long battle ahead for JNAC and district administration.

Trader Ashok Ahuja, who has an electronics shop at a basement of a prominent building in Sakchi, said: “I don’t understand this. The owner of the building has taken a hefty amount as advance from me towards rent. How can he ask me now to vacate basement space for fear of JNAC?”