Two lakh B khatas in Bengaluru, only 37 Akrama Sakrama submissions!

With the last date for receiving applications under Akrama Sakrama scheme having come to an end, the BBMP has received a lacklustre response from people willing to apply under the scheme. The number of applicants in entire BBMP limits is as low as 37, as on the last day – March 22nd, 2016.

The State government introduced Akrama Sakrama scheme last year and gave a time frame of one year from March 23rd, 2015 to March 22nd, 2016, for people to apply seeking regularisation of unauthorised buildings. Thanks to the ongoing court battle, lack of publicity by the government authorities and lack of clarity over certain aspects in the scheme, the scheme did not click well with people.

Turn of events

  • On February 27th, 2015, the Urban Development Department issues a notification directing the DC’s and ULB heads to implement Akrama Sakrama scheme. It sets the date for receiving applications from March 23rd 2015 to March 22nd 2016.
  • On March 23rd, 2015, BBMP issues a circular directing the concerned officers to distribute and accept the applications under Akrama Sakrama.
  • In the same month, citizen groups file a PIL (Case No. WP 8895/2015) in the High Court questioning the scheme.
  • The High Court Division Bench admits the batch of petitions and passes an interim order directing the State government not to process applications. However, it allows the receiving of applications.
  • During the course of hearing, the government has pressed before the Court that they will give chance for regularisation only once. It has contended that the scheme will bring more revenue to BBMP.
  • The High Court bench comprising Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee observed that the scheme was “dangerous.” What kind of scheme is this and under whose patronage are indiscriminate constructions allowed?” the bench had asked, during a hearing in December.
  • The matter has been posted for further hearing on March 29th, 2016.

After a lot of dilly-dallying, the Karnataka government introduced Akrama Sakrama scheme last year, by giving an opportunity for one-time regularisation of deviated buildings in urban local bodies across Karnataka. The Rule aimed at regularising residential buildings with deviation upto 50 per cent and non-residential buildings with deviation up to 25 per cent.

Soon after the government issued notification to implement the scheme, citizen groups led by Citizens Forum for Mangalore Development and JP Nagar 7th and 8th Residents Welfare Association moved to the High Court, claiming that the scheme made it easy for rule violators to let go things by paying a nominal fee. In March 2015, the High Court in its interim order directed the State government not to process the applications, while it allowed the receiving of applications.

‘Case pending in the court could be the reason’

According to a rough estimate, there are at least 2 lakh illegal residential buildings (‘B’ Khata holders) in Bengaluru. But, the number of people who have voluntarily declared the deviation seeking regularisation has not crossed two digits. While over 1,500 applications were sold to the people who were interested to apply under the scheme, only 37 of them, filled the form and returned it to the BBMP officers.

L Shashi Kumar, Additional Director of Town Planning (BBMP) explains that the reason for lack of response could be the case that is pending before the High Court. People may be apprehensive about the outcome of legal proceedings.

When asked if BBMP has done enough to promote and publicise the scheme among public, he said, nothing much was done after the case was admitted in the court.

As per the BBMP’s circular dated March 23rd, 2015, Assistant Revenue Officers of each ward are in-charge of distributing and receiving applications. Ramachandraiah L N, Assistant Revenue Officer of HAL and K R Puram said that he was given two sets of 125 Akrama Sakrama applications/pamphlets to be sold in HAL and K R Puram. “I sold 23 applications in HAL and 25 applications in K R Puram. But none of those who purchased the applications, came back to me with filled up forms,” he said. So, in last one year, Ramachandraiah has not received even a single application under Akrama Sakrama.

Are people waiting and watching?

The ARO said he has heard people saying that they were not applying because they were unable to understand the calculation made for regularising the violation. “I was told that percentage-wise calculation was not clear to them,” he said.

Another senior officer from BBMP who did not wish to be named said that another reason behind people not applying could be the possible effect of self-declaring the violation. “People may have a fear that in case if the High Court dismisses the scheme, self-declaring the deviation might lead to other problems. They might worry about being penalised by government authorities for unauthorised construction (later),” he said.

With such apprehensions, people have mostly opted to wait and watch before taking a hasty decision. The initial hype that was created around the scheme has slowly died down. Now, only the court will decide what will happen to the 37 applications that have been filed seeking regularisation of buildings.

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Akshatha M
About Akshatha M 213 Articles
Akshatha M is a Staff Journalist at Citizen Matters. She tweets at @akshata1.

7 Comments

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  2. There are too many cases of unauthorized developments within the built up area of the city and suburbs. Greedy land owners to sell/rent out more area is one reason for unauthorised developments. Harassment by Civic agencies for sanction of plan is another reason for unauthorized constructions.
    The helpless State Government without action to prevent unauthorized developments, and the officials who colluded with the violators are supporting the Akrama Sakrama Scheme.
    Akrama Sakrama Scheme proves bad urban governance of Civic agencies and Government affecting planned development of urban areas. All suburbs around the built up area are full of unauthorized constructions. The total number of unauthorised constructions is said to be about two lakh, but it may be much more. The area officials of BBMP, BDA, and the Revenue Department (in respect of buildings on government lands) should survey and have a record of the properties unauthorized, buildings with violations, etc,. This data may be updated during inspections. We cannot expect that all violators themselves will approach for regularisation.
    The present revised Akrama-Sakrama Scheme provides that the applications are to be made from 23.4.2015 upto 22.3.2016 (One year). The applications should be in respect of buildings built earlier than 19.102013. Regularisation will include violations in respect of :
    – Land Use
    – Unauthorised layouts
    – Set back violations, and
    – F.A.R violations
    For residential buildings, only upto 50% violations will be considered. For non-residential buildings, only upto 25% violations will be considered.
    All the efforts made by Government since 1960 for planned development of urban area by preparation of statutory master plans is defeated as the violations are affecting the land use zoning, building regulations, etc.
    The scheme mentions that the unauthorized developments built earlier than 19.10.2013 only will be regularised. Who will certify that the illegal work was earlier than 19.10.2013?
    What happens if the violation is more than maximum limit in Akrama Sakrama Scheme? Will the agencies demolish the excess violation?
    After getting regularized, they may further add more violations. It is bad urban governance to allow lakh and lakh of unauthorized constructions and feeling happy to get large funds by levy of fine.
    Definitely, the Scheme is not going to be one time measure, but many times affair by successive state governments.
    During construction, violating the sanctioned plan or land use zoning, the violators may tell the officials, that they will get the violations regularized under the Akrama-Sakrama Scheme.
    The expected revenue of Rs. 5000 Cr by levy of fine will be a dream. Majority of the violators may not come forward to get the developments/buildings regularized. What Government may get will be hardly about Rs.1000 Cr, that too over a period of time. In the suburban areas, the applications will be for buildings here and there and not according to a compact area to take up redevelopment.
    How the violators can expect improvement in the unauthorized colonies even if some of them get regularized.
    It is difficult to expect that BBMP will provide/improve the infrastructure for the benefit of the people living in areas with unauthorized buildings. The bad position with inadequate infrastructure will continue as existing. They can expect only street lighting after a few years. Many of the existing suburban areas in the BBMP limits have no water supply and sewage connections, parks and playgrounds, etc. When the BWSSB will provide these services in the area to be regularised?
    The officials who collude with the violators will not have discipline as so far such officials are not punished. Even if one batch of officials are transferred from BBMP, new batch of such officials only will come to BBMP to continue allowing violations. They will have no fear of disciplinary actions for allowing violations.
    The number of unauthorized constructionss may be more after introduction of the scheme because of the increase in guidance /market values, heavy demand for space in view of rapid growth of population in the City, and to get more on investment.
    Conclusion:
    – It is not a one time measure. Definitely, it will be introduced again, when lakhs of new unauthorized constructions come up.
    – No. building discipline after the scheme is introduced.
    – Expected revenue will not be received as the violators will watch whether such other people are serious in getting it regularized.
    – Only those cases, who intend to sell the property, to get loans, family bifurcation, etc may apply for regularization.
    – In suburban areas, the cases who apply for regularization will be here and there and not all the buildings in that area.
    – After collecting betterment charges, will the civic agency improve the infrastructure in that area: Street lighting may be provided early, drains after many years, and water supply and ugd after some more years.
    Can we expect quality of life in Bangalore if such regularization schemes are considered by Government? Citizens welfare associations and civic analysts will approach courts against such schemes. Media’s awareness reports will have to be continued in the interest of planned development of the City at least in the future.
    _______________________
    -Dr. A. S. Kodanda Pani
    Urban Planner & Civic Analyst

  3. Shame on BBMP! This shows their height of incompetence.
    Can you come up with more inept proposal than this ?
    Where are the punitive measures for those don’t regularize ? announce hard and firm penalties and people will come in drones to regularize.
    Also, most Bengaluru building are not 50% deviation from the plan, they have 90% deviation from the plan. You just have to walk down one road to understand this.

    The worst part even today builders are building 8-apartments in 60-40 site with 90% deviation. So this goes unabated. Is BBMP sleeping ?

    Everyone in BBMP needs to be fired from their jobs!

  4. PRASAD
    WELL… What happened to the 37 applications received. If they have been settled by BBMP, others would have applied.Why no news about the fate of 37 applications as reported herein.

  5. Well… We wanted to submit… But the Begur and Bommanahalli BBMP office did not accept the applications saying the matter was still pending in court. Our builder and our association office… Both had contacted the ARO of HSR / Mangammanapalya… Who also said the same that applications are not being accepted. I think there is a lack of communication within BBMP offices in this matter.

  6. Many people were not even aware that the scheme was open, even BBMP officials were not clear. When I contacted the local BBMP officials I was told that the scheme was stopped and no applications are available. The Govt should have advertised the scheme with clear notifications and conditions. There will be people who are willing to apply if the dates are extended and details made public.

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