PATNA: Municipal bodies in the state will again be empowered to pass the building maps in the municipal areas, according to an amendment in the Bihar Municipalities Act, 2007. The state legislature, during its just concluded winter session, passed the amendment bill which directs the urban bodies to earmark at least 25% of their budget for the development of infrastructure for the urban poor.
Earlier, the Patna regional development authority was empowered to pass housing maps. If any construction is done without the approval of authorized architect, the house owner would be slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 and an imprisonment which may extend to one year.
Standing committees of the municipal bodies will be given more financial powers and urban bodies will put house number on each building. If the property is divided, later on, fresh numbers will be given by the municipal body concerned. According to the government, the amendments were necessitated in view of the loopholes pointed out by the courts and the comptroller and auditor general ( CAG), in its annual reports in the 2007 Act. Now, the urban bodies will also decide the annual rent value of the houses. The built-up area of any house would include the constructions within the boundaries, thickness of the walls, use of carpet area and also roofs on each floor of the buildings.
Under the amended law, municipal bodies will have to put street lights on every road and street. Municipal bodies will make arrangements for fire fighting, fire protection and also work for economic empowerment of urban poor and create opportunities for their livelihood.
Municipal bodies will not prepare deficit budget, according to the new provisions. The state government will create rules and regulations regarding appointment, service conditions, postings, transfer, promotions and disciplinary proceedings against the employees and officers of the municipal bodies. Standing committees will be empowered to allot, grant on lease and settle any immovable property of the urban bodies. This power is at present vested in the executive officers and municipal commissioners.
Municipal corporations will increase the holding tax on the constructions by 15% every five years. Urban bodies can revise the holding taxes even before five years. Taxes will be levied on the vacant plots if construction is not done within two years of its purchase. To encourage rainwater harvesting, the house owner will get 5% rebate on the holding tax if the equipment is installed on the building premises.