The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad has written to the State government’s Department of Urban Development stressing on the need to bring in amendments to eight sections of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976. This will enable the civic body to act against property owners who have violated building by-laws or have deviated from the sanctioned plan.

“This will make way for a more orderly growth of the city,” said Mr. Prasad. If the BBMP has its way, violators may have to demolish or remove unauthorised structures or deviations at their own cost.

The commissioner has sought certain deletions and additions to sections of the Act pertaining to regulation of buildings. While justifying the need for the amendments, Mr. Prasad stated in the letter that the existing provisions have ‘less effect in controlling deviations and unauthorised construction of buildings’.

For instance, the moment notices are issued by the BBMP, the building owner concerned obtains a stay from either the civil court or the Karnataka High Court, though the suit is not maintainable. Despite the stay, the aggrieved person will complete the construction.

“It would be expensive for the BBMP not only to conduct litigations at all levels, but also in the matter of bringing down the deviated and unauthorised constructions,” he said in the letter.

If the proposed amendments are made, then citizens will have to give an undertaking to either construct or re-construct in accordance with the plan sanctioned and that in the event of any unauthorised construction or deviation, they will remove the same at their own cost. They will be given time to do so, failing which the BBMP commissioner can direct the officials concerned to remove such portions at the cost of the owner. The commissioner may also take necessary steps to stop construction or withdraw the sanctioned plan.

If the construction goes ahead without the required permission and the deviated or unauthorised portion is not removed even after 30 days from the date of receipt of notice, the owner or person responsible may be liable to pay 10% of the guidance value of the site every month.

Mr. Prasad has also proposed that the BBMP can prevent occupancy of such premises by directing the service providing authorities to withdraw the utility / facility to the premises till it issues the Occupancy Certificate. He has proposed that no case shall be instituted against the corporation or civic officials for taking action as per provisions of the KMC Act.

“If these amendments are brought in, the BBMP will be able to act against violators during the construction stage itself. With the present provisions, this is not possible,” he pointed out.