BANGALORE: Property owners worried about the Akrama-Sakrama scheme can breathe easy. Legal experts have advised the government to put the regularization of building violations scheme in cold storage for the time being as resident associations and other stakeholders are set to file public interest litigation pleas against the ordinance.
Sources said the scheme will not come into force unless suitable modifications are made and discussed in the winter session of the Karnataka legislature scheduled for mid-November in Belgaum.
Advisers have suggested to the government to not implement the scheme at one go. A locality or a few wards in Bangalore should be taken as a pilot project.
Sources in the government told TOI: “Each urban centre in the state should be dealt with differently by local municipal corporation . Bangalore’s crisis is that of building violations. It needn’t be the same in, say, Mysore or Bellary.”
They said penalty slabs for violators needn’t be uniform across the state, and city corporations must be allowed to fix fees depending on public response . To include these suggestions , the scheme has to be recast and debated on the floor of the House.
Officials from the parliamentary affairs department confirmed that a bill with modifications will be introduced in the next session to replace the ordinance. The modified bill has to go before the cabinet and get the final clearance from the governor, they added.
A senior Congress leader said the government also felt Akrama-Sakrama is no longer a rosy scheme to generate revenue as envisaged earlier. “There are legal tangles. With the Lok Sabha elections round the corner, it’s better to slow down,” he added.
Not many changes:
Asked about the modifications likely in the Akrama-Sakrama scheme, law and parliamentary affairs minister TB Jayachandra told TOI there won’t be major changes. “We have brought in the ordinance. My task is to frame rules for implementation . As part of the rules, we want to give more powers to the government in fixing the time period for regularization . We may make some changes in the process. We’ll convene a meeting of all stakeholders within a day or two,” he said.
The government finally issued an ordinance to extend the cut-off date for regularization of unauthorized residential and commercial buildings in urban areas, including BBMP limits, to December. Law and parliamentary affairs minister TB Jayachandra confirmed the governor has given his nod for the ordinance and the related notification was issued a few days ago. The previous BJP government had fixed December 3, 2009, as the cut-off date.
The virtual shelving of the Akrama-Sakrama scheme indicates the government’s dithering on regularisation on building violations. It also shows that powerful lobbies are at work which want to use the scheme for their own ends. The government should look at all aspects of the provisions of the scheme before going ahead with the modifications. With many persons waiting to file PIL petitions, the process could now be delayed for some time. The BBMP should concentrate on compliance with building plan during construction and crack down on violators at this stage itself.