Bengaluru civic body’s draft notification against illegal constructions faces stiff opposition
The government’s proposal to punish civic officials who allow illegal constructions in the city hasn’t gone down well with corporators. “If it’s allowed, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner will end up facing arrest as 98 per cent of the properties, including those owned by politicians, have violated rules,” they claimed.
The issue rocked the BBMP council meeting on Thursday with corporators, cutting across party lines, opposing the draft notification that prescribes a two-year jail sentence and Rs 50,000 penalty to civic engineers who fail to stop illegal constructions or any reconstruction taking place in violation of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, 1976.
The draft notification also prescribes punishment to property owners who violate rules.
Opposition leader Padmanabha Reddy (BJP) said: “We have to acknowledge the contributions of civic engineers to the city’s development. They were instrumental in constructing BBMP’s annexe building-3 in the head office premises and the JC Road car parking complex, which have deviated from the original building plan. Now, can we put the BBMP commissioner behind bars as he is the owner of these two properties? We should oppose the proposal.”
Reddy pointed out that only 2 per cent (of 19 lakh properties) across Bengaluru had adhered to rules. “Even elected representatives, from corporators to chief ministers, have constructed buildings and there could be violations. By bringing in such rules, we will be promoting political witch-hunting,” he said, adding: “We had tried to streamline the issue by mooting the Akrama-Sakrama (regularization of illegal buildings) scheme. While the scheme is caught in legal wrangles, we are now bringing in penalty clauses. This is nothing but working at cross-purposes.”
Congress leader M Shivaraju said: “The government has only submitted the draft notification and we can seek legal clarity before opposing it.” Another corporator MK Gunashekhar said: “The KMC Act has empowered civic officials to act against violators. The intention is also to prevent illegal constructions.”