Noose Around Unauthorised Constructions Gets Tighter
Floods in Kashmir in 2014 or that in Chennai in November 2015, all these man-made disasters have been mapped to poor urban planning, encroachments and illegal housing. Therefore, the noose around unauthorised construction now gets tighter.
Sample this. A catering college in Chinnakanal Village, Kerala was recently pulled up for not having valid documents of ownership of the land on which the institution has been constructed. A tax of Rs 12 lakh has been levied, three times more than what a law abiding property owner has to pay.
Reportedly, Chennai has over seven lakh unauthorised buildings and 30 per cent of the 20,000 buildings constructed every year violate the housing regulations.
This was followed by the Goa Regularisation of Unauthorised Construction Act, 2016 under which it is mandatory to regularise structures built on private land. Under the Act, over 3,500 applications reached the State Revenue Department from those owners who sought to regularise their properties. However, the authorities have maintained that regularisation is not feasible in case the property is built on a no-development zone, open space, public land, structures in or for scrapyards, eco-sensitive zone, under coastal regulation or along natural water channels. Besides, where regularisation can take place, the owners are liable to pay infrastructure tax, conversion fees, occupancy fees, license fees as well as a penalty. The penalty is five per cent for residential and institutional, 15 per cent for commercial and 10 per cent for residential plus commercial buildings.
Another case is that of the Jammu Development Authority (JDA), which too has come out with stringent rules against encroachers and land mafia. The JDA has also alerted the common public to be on their guard. Prospective property owners have been asked to get their building plans approved. Any compromise will lead to action for violation of Control of Building Operation Act.
A month from now, we could also expect some concrete way of dealing with illegal structures in the capital, too. In the next four weeks, the Centre has to take an in-principle decision regarding unauthorised constructions in Delhi. The High Court trashed Centre's idea of going for a Total Station method (TSM) of surveying because it is time-taking. This refers to using an electronic theodolite (transit) integrated with an electronic distance meter (EDM) to read slope distances from the instrument to a particular point.
In the wake of growing number of unauthorised constructions, many civic bodies have decided to raze such buildings, too. However, you may want to avoid any such instances because the cost of this loss is usually borne by the home owners only. Exercise caution.
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