Talk about illegal buildings, and you come to know that more than 80% of buildings in Bengaluru have violations. Building owners who have knowingly or unknowingly violated the building rules, have been looking to resolve these issues once and for all. And the respite is here – in the form of Akrama Sakrama. The government has published the draft rules for Akrama Sakrama on December 31, 2013, deciding to regularise the buildings built before October 19, 2013.
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Like any other law, The Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act – now known as Akrama Sakrama – was framed with a lot of thought and logic to bring decorum to the process of urbanisation. Demarking land use as commercial, residential and mixed in some areas, prescribing building setback, parking requirements for commercial buildings and punishment for encroachments, to name a few, were all part and parcel of the law.
Over time, various amendments were made to include or slightly change the directives. With Akrama Sakrama, the amendments directly allow deviations to be regularised by paying a penalty, meaning, the existing deviations will remain forever. This bill will not only add crores of rupees to the state’s coffers from an unknown number of deviations, it will give officials ‘powers’ as they will be the ones assessing deviations and collecting the penalties. and will also allow the financially able to get away without making any corrections. All cities in the state will have to accept and live with the haphazardness around.
What is Akrama Sakrama?
Akrama Sakrama is the amendment to various acts including Karnataka Town and Country Act, resulting in Karnataka Town and Country Planning (Regularisation of unauthorised Developments) Rules 2013. This bill has been in making for several years, it has seen many CMs and Governments, and now has it has finally been approved by the Karnataka Government.
The bill is a one-time regularisation of a whole gamut of bye-laws ranging from building deviations to illegal constructions to change in land use in urban areas. Some regularisations like land use change have severe implications to the city and citizens than others.
Previously when the government called for objections, owners of the buildings with deviations had objected to the supposedly high penalty amount. Civil society groups and the High Court too had objected to the extent of violations being regularised.
The Governor had sent the bill back twice and suggested that the government reframe some of the existing rules, draft a time-frame without provision for extension, ensure that the scheme does not benefit the real-estate mafia and have absolutely no room for conversion of residential buildings into fully commercial buildings.
The Akrama Sakrama was tabled at last Assembly session, passed by our lawmakers on December 2, 2013 and notified on December 31, 2013.
The fact that the “date” for eligible properties for regularisation has changed several times, from December 3, 2009 in the initial proposal to 19, October, 2013 in the notification, speaks volumes on the Governments’ intent. Three month’s time has been given to people to apply for regularisation.
Though the bill is notified, there are several questions left unanswered, like what action will be taken on buildings whose deviations are more than the said regularisation ceiling. While there is no mention of action against the official and executive machinery that allowed these deviations, it is safe to assume that the same officials will be responsible for implementing the new law.
How does Akrama Sakrama affect you if you have a deviation in your building?
In the BBMP area, building deviations of residential and commercial buildings built up to 19 October 2013 can be regularised.
The approved bill allows a regularisation of deviations up to 50% for residential buildings and up to 25% deviations of commercial buildings. Building owners can regularise their building deviations by paying a penalty. For residential buildings the penalty is 6% of the guidance value of the irregular portion less than or up to 25% of deviation and 8% if the deviation is higher than 25%, till 50%.
For commercial buildings the penalty is 20% of the market value for 12.5% or less of deviation and 35% for a deviation more than 12.5%. The proposed bill also indicated regularisation of unauthorised residential buildings on revenue land.
The bill also lists out violations eligible for regularisation, conditions and terms for calculation of violation, forms that need to be filled, supporting documents required, the steps that need to be followed and procedure that will be followed by the authority. You can also click here to read the text of the draft rules, or download the pdf from here. Hard copies are available at Urban Development Department, Vikas Soudha.
How does it affect you, a law abiding citizen?
Unfortunately, you are simply at the wrong end of the deal. There is no incentive for those who followed the law in letter and spirit. The least of inconveniences could be the building violations of a neighbour hampering light and ventilation in your home.
But on a city level, the impact on you is much greater. You may have to live with encroachments on land meant for civic amenities or proper rainwater drainage, multi storey commercial buildings with inadequate parking leading to motorable roads being used for parking, commercial buildings in residential areas disrupting peace and purpose of the area, wall-to-wall constructions causing an urban heat island, concreted stretches stopping rainwater recharge to name a few city level inconveniences.
The draft rule says the objections or suggestions received within 30 days, that is, January 30, 2014. Objectlons and suggestions should be addressed to the Principal Secretary to the Government, Urban Development Department, Vikasa Soudha, Bangalore-560001.