NASHIK: The civic body has urged citizens to get copies of approved building plans from it while purchasing properties to ensure that they are not duped by the builders.
The Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) made the appeal after it found that the builders indulged in constructions other than the ones approved by the civic administration.
Following the municipal commissioner Praveen Gedam's orders, additional director of the NMC's town planning department Vijay Shende circulated a letter to the media asking people to get approved plans from the civic body. Accordingly, the building plans would be made available to the applicants within seven days. The minister concerned, builders and civic officials will hold a meeting on May 13 to discuss the matter.
"In many cases, we noted that the builders had done constructions other than what we had approved. Moreover, the NMC had not given completion certificates to the builders in several cases. The customers/buyers of the property do not have an idea about the kind of construction permission. The customers could be duped in such cases. Therefore, the municipal commissioner has urged citizens to ask for the plan approved by the NMC's town planning department to get an idea about the kind of construction permissions," said an NMC official.
He said the applicants will get photocopies of the building plan in seven days. They will have to bear only the charges of photocopies, he added.
The built-up and carpet areas presented by the builders while taking construction permission and the ones shown during sale deed differ a lot. Hence, they take permission for less area but sell more. Besidesm the NMC has also noticed certain discrepancies such as excluding cupboard space while seeking construction permission and including it when selling the property. According to the NMC, the builders were earning crores of rupees by doing so.
"There should be space below the window and cupboards should be constructed as well. However, covering balconies and terraces and making cupboard space part of habitable rooms are few of the violations. After noticing such violation, we brought it to the notice of the municipal commissioner. The builders now want to get the discrepancies regularised by paying penalty," the official said.
"Builders indulged in such irregularities and there was no check on them. We found these irregularities after inspection. The Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (CREDAI) has accused Shende of not functioning properly and complained to the municipal commissioner about it. It was Shinde who discovered the illegalities in buildings," he said.
He added that the builders and some corporators were putting pressure by demanding that the municipal commissioner should regularize the discrepancies in the constructions by charging penalty.
Speaking to TOI, Gedam said, "Builders and architects are aware that it is not within the powers of the municipal commissioner to give relaxation in floor space index (FSI). They are also aware that for doing so, changes need to be made in building code rules, for which they should approach the government. However, they are pressurising the local officers to do illegal things. Instances of past illegalities cannot be mentioned as precedent to continue with illegalities. Builders are legally bound to take money for the carpet area, for which approval is granted to them. It has come to our notice that they are selling more area than the approved plan, which amounts to cheating".
About the accusations against Shende, he said, "I have written to Credai demanding exact allegations against Shende in writing. However, it is yet to do so."
A city-based builder said on the condition of anonymity, "Our people want the business to go on but the municipal commissioner thinks that anyone working in this field is a criminal. In many cases, builders may have taken the approval but the construction work has not been started due to legal issues. There are a very few cases of cupboard space being included in the FSI."
Meanwhile, Shende, who was instrumental in discovering the discrepancies, is being transferred. A senior NMC official said on the condition of anonymity, "Seniors at the topmost level have told us about Shende's transfer. We are awaiting the transfer order, which is expected any moment."