BHUBANESWAR: People who want to build a house in city have to approach Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) for approval of their building plans soon and not Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), as is the ongoing practice.
The BDA Advisory Board, under the chairmanship of housing and urban development minister Pushpendra Singhdeo on November 11, decided that BMC would approve housing plans in areas under its jurisdiction. BDA will continue the exercise for localities that are outside the purview of BMC but fall under the BDA plan area. These include around 500 villages around Bhubaneswar besides Jatni and Khurda municipalities.
Mayor Anant Narayan Jena said BDA will help BMC establish its planning section before transferring the responsibility. "Since BMC provides public services such as road and drain, if it does the planning exercise there would be better coordination for planned development," he said.
Government sources said BMC will also outsource a major part of the work to a private firm that has expertise in town planning.
At present, before starting any construction, individuals and developers have to approach BDA for its approval. However, it asks them to get no objection certificates (NOCs) from BMC for drain and road connectivity. "Since two agencies are involved, there is lack of coordination, which delays the approval process," said a senior government officer. Under the Odisha Right to Public Service Act, there is a deadline of 60 days to approve any building plan. But often, BDA finds it difficult to meet the time limit.
Real estate developers said the new move could streamline the planning process. "The major problem with the ongoing practice is lack of coordination between BMC and BDA as plan approval by BDA is subject to BMC's NOC. Since a single agency will do the exercise from now on, this could be the end of the hitch," said D S Tripathy, joint secretary of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (Credai).
According to the 74th amendment of the Indian Constitution, planning process of cities should be vested with the elected urban local bodies. Then housing and urban development secretary Arun Panda in 2010 had asked the BMC to take over planning work of Bhubaneswar from BDA. However, since BMC doesn't have its own planning section, it is yet to accept the responsibility. Once BMC takes charge, other ULBs would also be asked to gradually take over similar exercises in their jurisdiction in a phased manner, another government officer said.