Seeking building permission online speeds process, express Guwahatians
GUWAHATI: Residents of Guwahati were allegedly being subjected to unnecessary harassment in the name of procuring building permission issued by Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) and Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) through the offline process. The process of acquiring a building permission offline undergoes an unavoidable lengthy exercise, claim residents.
The current building permission is completely online. It starts with the Guwahati GMDA submitting online file with planning permit and ends with the GMC issuing the “No Objection Certificate” as building permission. In every step and in every process, SMS notifications are sent to the applicants as well as to the concerned architects or engineers informing the progress status of the application.
In the earlier process, applicants alleged being subjected to the misery of visiting the offices of the concerned government agencies multiple times in order to get the building permission. However, after the process becoming completely online, applicants are constantly apprised of the status of their file online, saving them the misery.
Ranel Das, a city based architect, told G Plus that certain delays continue to take place but they are mostly caused due to small errors in the plan submitted. While in a lot of cases, there are genuine errors in terms of wrong calculation and wrong interpretation of by-laws, in some cases, the architect involved may be making mistakes purposefully to delay the process due to internal conflict with the concerned party.
“With the online building permission system coming in place, the entire process has become hassle-free,” Das added.
“For the process of obtaining NOC certificate for my building, I consulted a planner who promised to provide me with the same within six months; however, the process took more than a year. Earlier, I thought that GMC was delaying the process but when I took up the matter with the concerned authority, I was informed that my architect had submitted wrong documents (Dag no. and Patta no.). Hence due to a mismatch, my application was rejected four times. After correction of the error, it took just over a month to receive the NOC (submitted on February 21 received NOC on April 5),” informed Atiqul Habib, a resident of Hatigaon.
Habib stressed on the need for individuals to become independent instead of completely relying on the architects.
Delay caused due to submission of incorrect documents: GMC
While Guwahatians allege that the authorities delay the process by keeping files pending, officials at GMC informed G Plus that in most cases, the delay is caused due to submission of incorrect or faulty documents by the concerned architect/planner.
When asked about the stipulated time to obtain permission and reasons for delay, Deepak Bezbaruah, the associate planner of GMC told G Plus, “It usually takes a maximum of 30 days to issue planning permit and 45 days to issue building permit. But the process only starts after submission of proper documents. In most cases, it takes longer due to submission of faulty documents by the concerned architect/planner.”
He added that the onus of delay is neither on GMC nor on the applicant. Rather, it’s on the architect/planner who prepares the plans and submits incorrect/faulty documents that delay the process.
All pending offline applications disposed by GMC
Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) inducted the online building permission system in June 2018 to make obtaining of building permission hassle-free and since June 16, 2019, the organisation is not accepting or entertaining any offline building permission applications.
In view of long pendency of building permission files at GMC for want of appropriate documents and certificates, a public hearing was held in the conference hall of GMC office, Uzan Bazar on June 14-15, 2019.
The two-day initiative aimed at fast track disposal of all pending offline building permission files and make the process of receiving building permission completely online. In lieu of this, all applicants whose files had been pending were asked to re-submit proper documents along with building plan by June 10 and were called for the public hearing.
The initiative was taken by GMC Commissioner Debeswar Malakar along with Associate Planner Deepak Bezbaruah. In two days, more than 200 files were disposed and whatever files remained pending were permanently cancelled. The applicants were asked to file fresh applications online thereafter.
The detailed and systematic online process
The current building permission is completely online – the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) submits online file with planning permit after the approval of the CEO of GMDA to the counter clerk of GMC. The counter clerk of GMC, after receiving the file in his/her console, generates the file number of GMC for the file after checking the attached documents and verifying the ward number. After that, he/she submits the file to the concerned zonal engineer’s console.
The concerned zonal engineers, after receiving the file in their console, undertake site visit for the concerned file and updates the site visit detailed check list report with their observations. He/she also checks all the attached documents such as deed, land documents, etc and then performs auto scrutiny of the drawing file and comes up with a detailed report regarding all the observations.
After that, zonal engineers update the note sheet with their observations found during site visit, document verification and auto scrutiny and finally sends the file to the concerned associate planner for further processing of the file.
The associate planner, after receiving the file in his/her console, checks the note sheet of the concerned file. The associate planner then examines the zonal engineer’s report, documents and auto scrutiny reports and recommends either for approval, rejection or objections to the additional commissioner.
The additional commissioner, after receiving the file in his/her console, checks the note sheet of the concerned file and submits it to the commissioner for approval or rejection.
The commissioner checks the note sheet of the concerned file for the comments put up by the respective zonal engineer, associate planner as well as additional commissioner. After that, the commissioner decides whether to return the file to the concerned associate planner for any clarifications or to approve the file and send the file to the concerned zonal engineer’s console for further processing of the file.
In every step and in every process, SMS notifications are sent to the applicants as well as to the concerned architects or engineers informing the status of the proposal. The whole procedure usually takes 45 days for issuing the final “No Objection Certificate” which is the building permission. It may extend if any objections arise.