CM Sonowal backs GMDA On Building Bye-Laws Modification Request

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CM Sonowal backs GMDA On Building Bye-Laws Modification Request

Saumya Mishra | October 12, 2019 13:39 hrs

GUWAHATI: The Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) has written to the state government for modification of the building bye-laws, informed sources.

“Currently there are a few errors in the building bye-laws and there is a need for some modifications too. For this, the GMDA has written to the state government and the modifications would be done shortly,” a senior official informed G Plus on the condition of anonymity.
    
The demand for modifications in the building bye-laws has been a long-standing one in the state from the real-estate developers.

Further, in the same vein, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on October 9, directed the Guwahati Development Department (GDD) to prepare a contemporary set of building bye-laws within October 31 in order to boost the real estate sector.  

Sonowal also asked the authorities to take measures to speed up the process of construction under the affordable housing scheme. 

Building bye-laws are a set of norms set by the authorities for construction of buildings which mention its various requirements. The regulatory authorities grant permission for building plan only when the bye-laws are adhered to. 

As per the current building bye-laws, there is a time limit set for issuing building permit in Assam. The bye-laws mention: “Application for Planning Permit shall be disposed of within a period of 30 days from the date of receipt of the application. Application for Building Permit shall be disposed of within a period of 45 days from the date of receipt of Planning Permit.” 

However, the builders complained of a tedious process of obtaining approvals from authorities.  

“Assam is the only state in India which is operating with an outdated multiple window building bye-laws where applicants have to run from table to table and from office to office for months, sometimes years on end, for approval,” said PK Sharma, President, AREIDA (Assam Real Estate and Infrastructure Developers’ Association). 

He further added that the central government had formulated the Model Building Bye-laws 2016 in a bid to promote ease-of-doing business, promote the real estate and the housing sector and to eliminate corruption. It mandates single window, time bound approvals and accountability of officials. Further, all states were to amend their building by laws accordingly. However, the bye-laws remained unchanged in Assam.

“The main issue in Assam is that the building bye-laws are not yet corrected and there are 28 errors. This is why most of the builders are not taking up new projects and the ones which are ongoing are the earlier projects,” said Debajit Borah, a Guwahati-based builder.

He added that many projects including those under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) are held up due to the problems with the by-laws. Borah mentioned that they have been asking the government to rectify it for a long time but to no avail.

Further, architects, too, feel that obtaining building permission in the state is a tedious process.

“Even with the online system which is now in place; the building permission can take anywhere between six months to even a year. This causes unnecessary delays,” said Guwahati-based architect Ranel Das.

Additionally, the economic slowdown has also affected the real estate sector for the past few months as the real estate developers claimed to have lost out on business.  

“The real estate business has halted now due to the economic slowdown. There is 60-70% less work now as compared to the previous years. The earlier boom in the real estate sector no longer exists,” said Debajit Borah.

On the other hand, the authorities at the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) informed that since online system of issuing building permission was adopted a few months ago, all evaluation related to adherence with bye-laws is done by the software itself. 

“Since there is no human interface and the machine scrutinises it, many discrepancies are found. The machine catches discrepancies which are as small as 1 millimetre and thus the software doesn’t send it to the higher level for permission until it’s rectified,” town planner at GMC, Deepak Bezbaruah, informed G Plus.

He added that there have been instances where the buildings have been passed in a single go while others have been pending for years.

“Since the system is new, I think it will take some time for the architects to get used to it. Nowadays, the objections are reducing as the architects now know the protocol,” he said.

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