BENGALURU: An ordinance to regularise building violations in Bengaluru is unlikely to bring in any revenue and will only add pressure to the inadequate civic infrastructure and challenges of India’s technology hub, experts and political leaders said.
The ordinance to amend sections of the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) laws to legalise violations of around 75,000 residential units for a penalty is also unlikely to get an overwhelming response, they added.
The scheme will regularise the violations of 75,000 units built across 6,000 acres and over 12 years old with a fine that is 10-40% of the guidance value depending on the size of the plot. There is no guarantee in the scheme that such violations will not occur again.
“This is kind of an amnesty scheme. You will take the money, blow it up and will have a city that you can never rectify," V.Ravichandar, an urban expert said.
The ordinance to regularise building violations by the B.S.Yediyurappa-led Karnataka government is aimed at earning some goodwill ahead of the corporation elections and shoring up revenues at a time when the state is facing an acute liquidity crunch as funds from the Centre has run dry and the covid-19 induced lockdown has brought economic activity to a standstill.
Government officials said such schemes are unlikely to bring in any money and even if it does, it will take at least over a year.
Civic authorities and experts were more worried about the problems they bring along such as pressure on sewage, garbage, encroachment of storm water drains, parking and drinking water supply, among others.
The BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, the city’s civic body) has been unable to live up to the assurances it made in its budget.
Ensuring compliance would bring some semblance of planning to a city like Bengaluru, that like other urban centres in the country grapples with shortage of resources like water, clean air, and struggle with congestion, rapidly eroding green cover, among other problems.
“Unless regularisation is going to be valued, which means there is a positive benefit and a negative cost, people will not feel the difference," Krishna Byre Gowda, former minister and legislator from Byatarayanapura in Bengaluru said. He also said the amnesty scheme had received a lukewarm response when it began in 2014 since there were no negative costs associated with the violations.
The BBMP undertook a similar exercise in 2016 when it began demolition of buildings that had purportedly encroached upon storm water drains, but faced a public backlash.