BUILDERS DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY`S NEW ZONING REGULATIONS FOR THE BUILDERS, BY THE BUILDERS AND FOR THE WELFARE OF THE BUILDERS.
BDA IS DOING A YEOMAN`S SERVICE TO THE BUILDERS WITH THIS KIND OF GREAT SERVICE
A NEWS REPORT IN BANGALORE MIRROR
An official meeting between Urban Development Department (UDD) officials and Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (CREDAI), Bengaluru, representatives found in the file pertaining to the recent amendments to the BDA masterplan zoning regulations shows how the ‘plan’ unfolded. What followed were “builder/developer-friendly” amendments that clear a path for rampant commercialisation in residential areas across the city.
Some representatives of civic groups, headed by the Civic Action Forum (CAF), who legally fought the “mixed residential” usage in Masterplan 2015 that encouraged commercialisation in residential areas, recently inspected the file pertaining to the issue in the UDD. And halfway through the documents, what they found was baffling: a note that mentioned a meeting of officials with CREDAI, which is basically an association that looks out for builders’ and developers’ interests.
Following the High Court order banning commercial activities in residential areas with roads less than 40 ft width, the government last month notified certain amendments to the Masterplan zoning regulations, which is in total contravention of what the BDA swore before the court.The Masterplan is a document that demarcates spaces for development of residential ,commercial, industrial zones along with parks, open spaces, drains etc.
Not only did the UDD do a U-turn on the BDA’s proposal, which spoke about disallowing commercial activities in residential areas with roads (carriageway) less than 40 feet, it also tweaked the feet to metres, citing 12 metres (which is 39 feet). Thus opening up ways and means for large-scale commercialization that would see residential localities even house IT firms.
Bangalore Mirror broke the story on January 8 highlighting the amendments which could be disastrous for the city which is already reeling under haphazard commercialisation of residential localities. Reacting to the news report, the administration at the highest level are now rethinking on the notification and are planning to withdraw it. Caught off guard with the gazette notification, BDA commissioner T Sham Bhat reportedly told the chief minister that the government had changed the proposals, overlooking his note.
It was clear from the very beginning that the amendments were done to favour the developers and the decision to tweak the proposals was taken at the highest level in the UDD.
“This note proves it. What was the CREDAI meeting note all about? It is beyond doubt that the decision to allow commercialization was taken at the behest of the builder lobby,” a highly placed source told Bangalore Mirror.
According to some of the representatives who accessed the documents, the first half of the file seemed to be on track with correspondence about the issue – from the start up to the High Court’s observations and directions and BDA commissioner’s affidavit not to allow commercial activity in residential main and residential mixed zones in the three rings (core area, suburbs and outer areas) if the road width is less than 40 feet. Along with this the file contained the proposal forwarded by the BDA for amendment.
“Halfway into the file, a note about a meeting of UDD with CREDAI, Bengaluru, baffled us. Why did the members from the realty sector meet officials on this issue? From then on, the note took a different direction and the final one was the amendment that came out in favour of the developers,” the members added.
Another revelation was the seven objections filed for the draft copy of the notification; all of them were from builders. Strangely, the draft copy was missing in the file and was not even available with the UD secretariat. As per rules, the government has to first publish the draft notification calling for suggestions/objections from citizens, giving a minimum of 15 days. Subsequently, the final notification would be issued.
“How did the builders file their objections to the draft when nobody even knew about it? We asked the officials to show us in which newspaper the draft was published and there was no answer from them. It’s ironic that the entire case was fought by citizens, but the draft notification is accessed only by builders,” said the members.
The officials are in a fix now as the issue is out in the open, and has snowballed into a controversy that has the government re-thinking the amendments.
INSIDE GOVT FILE
HC directive to ban commercial activities in residential areas
BDA commissioner’s assurance to HC
BDA’s proposal for zoning in tandem with assurance to HC
A note on a meeting with representatives from realty sector…
Seven suggestions from builders make it to the final notification, bringing back commercial activities in residential areas and talking in terms of mtrs instead of feet