The government has so far held firm about the mortgage clause for constructions on plots between 100 sq.m and 300 sq.m notwithstanding the general clamour for diluting it. Along with the clause, senior municipal officials are seeking a self-regulating mechanism be put in place to prevent deviations from the sanctioned plan.
Instead of putting the entire onus on the local body to check for unauthorised constructions, they feel it will be effective if other departments like Water Board, Central Power Distribution Company Ltd (CPDCL) and Registration Department are brought into the loop to make it mandatory for obtaining an Occupancy Certificate (OC) before giving respective connections.
OCs is issued by the local municipal body, like GHMC in the capital, only if the constructed building has not deviated from the sanctioned plan or if the deviation is up to 10 per cent. To give some teeth to it, a provision to pay security deposit based on the built up space was introduced in 1998 but builders preferred not to take the deposits and thereby OCs to deviate. In GHMC, thousands of buildings were permitted after common building rules came into force (G0 86) three years ago and this year of the 329 buildings which applied for OCs, 112 were issued, 118 rejected and 24 are under process from among 187 buildings inspected.
Senior officials affirm rather than concentrating on fast track clearance of building plans, more effort should be to strengthen the self- regulating mechanism. “Permissions are anyway deemed to be given if there is no response from the municipal bodies within a month of filing building applications. Since, it takes a year or more to construct any building, strategies should be devised on tackling the general tendency to deviate,” they argue.
As per law, the CPDCL and Water Board are supposed to provide regular connections only if an OC is shown but it is more followed in the breach. “The mortgage clause came into the picture only when all other mechanisms failed and it has helped curb deviations to a large extent in the multi-storied buildings,” says Director of Town & Country Planning B. Purushothama Reddy.
Senior officials are sure bringing constructions in 100-300 sq.mts under the mortgage clause will arrest rampant unauthorized constructions in the segment. Yet, problem arises when the building owner deviates and do not want to sell or lease the mortgaged portion and keeps it for his own use.
Senior officials also suggest the Registration Department too be brought into the picture so that buildings without OCs are not registered at least for the new ones. In case, the activity in such a building is commercial, trade licenses too should not be issued apart from collection steep property tax to the extent of 200 per cent.
“If there is proper cooperation and coordination among different departments, unauthorized constructions can be curbed, hence the Government should take steps in this direction,” say senior officials.
They point out that seeking a no objection certificate from the urban land ceiling before granting building permissions saw to it there were no violations of the ULC Act. There is also a proposal to take up registrations only if the prospective layouts are approved.