KOLKATA: The days of harassment by building department inspectors are over. The completion certificate (CC) process for houses and apartment complexes has gone online.
Now, you can expect a CC within seven days of applying for it. The e-process could root out the notorious inspector raj that has thrived in Kolkata Municipal Corporation for two decades.
Earlier, building department inspectors had the discretionary power to withhold CC indefinitely. It gave them the leverage to manipulate and extort a house owner or developer because without the certificate you cannot apply for water, drainage or power connection.
There are recent instances of people not having received CC for a year, without being told where they erred. This is why very often promoters avoid taking a completion certificate and hand over possession to home owners, who are unaware of the trouble that lies ahead. They cannot move in without water and power connection but have to fork out EMIs.
“The computerized system has been introduced to strengthen our own network where building department officials often fail to track down cases of delay and harassment. Now we can trace files faster,” said a KMC official. It will also ease the process for issuing building plan sanction. Mayor Sovan Chatterjee told TOI that KMC started issuing online CCs on November 22, addressing a major concern among citizens and developers. “We are committed to improving citizens’ services. The new system will curb harassment and ensure timely completion certificates,” Chatterjee said.
Under the new rules, an inspector has to issue a compliance report or give reasons for rejecting a CC within seven days. “This will increase transparency and curb opportunities to manipulate owners or builders,” an official said.
Representatives of Credai’s Bengal chapter welcomed the move. “This will usher in transparency, end harassment and ensure faster development. It is an extremely encouraging step,” said Credai Bengal vice-president Sushil Mohta.
During a bridge-building meeting on Wednesday with KMC commissioner and heads of building, assessment, project management unit (heritage, waterbody), civil and law, Credai Bengal officials led by chairman Harsh Patodia discussed several points where processes can be streamlined.
They suggested that KMC streamline the building plan sanction process on land where no workshop or factory exists, simplify rules and relax height restrictions for theeka land. Patodia said the industry’s suggestion had been well-received.