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News Report - Akrama Sakrama-a bailout package for Builders / Developers

Sr.No News Paper Report -HEADLINES News Paper Date
20 Governor returns Akrama-Sakrama Bill The Hindu 28/09/2010
19 Akrama-Sakrama Bill passed in Assembly by voice vote; Opposition members tear papers in the Council The Hindu 16/07/2010
18 BBMP considering buying TDR from residents The Hindu 23/06/2010
17 Akrama-Sakrama to generate Rs 10,000 crore? The Hindu 03/03/2010
16 The 'beneficiaries' have to wait The Hindu 16/01/2010
15 Ordinance approved for Akrama-Sakrama The Hindu 13/01/2010
14 Implementation of Akrama-Sakrama scheme likely to be delayed The Hindu 14/12/2009
13 Akrama-Sakrama will take some time The Hindu 05/12/2009
12 Approved Akrama-Sakrama scheme draws flak The Hindu 05/12/2009
11 Akrama-Sakrama scheme approved by Cabinet The Hindu 04/12/2009
10 Akrama Sakrama: suggested penalty not people-friendly The Hindu 03/10/2009
9 Akrama-Sakrama: subcommittee for 50 per cent cut in penalties The Hindu 23/09/2009
8 Buyer can cancel deal if builder delays project: consumer court The Hindu 23/08/2009
7 Unauthorised layouts, sites to be regularised The Hindu 29/07/2009
6 Big builders under the scanner The Hindu 26/03/2009
5 When the construction is unauthorised The Hindu 31/01/2009
4 Government for 'people friendly' Akrama-Sakrama scheme The Hindu 08/11/2008
3 Sakrama: fee refund to start from October 15 The Hindu 12/10/2008
2 Citizens' forum for stay on Akrama-Sakrama scheme The Hindu 26/11/2007
1 Sakrama scheme termed unfair The Hindu 20/11/2007

Governor returns Akrama-Sakrama Bill

Date:28/09/2010
URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2010/09/28/stories/2010092860610100.htm

BANGALORE: Governor H.R. Bhardwaj has for the second time returned the Karnataka Town and Country Planning and Certain Other Laws (Amendment) Bill 2009 (Akrama-Sakrama), which envisages regularisation of unauthorised constructions in the State.

Minister for Home and Transport R. Ashok, who is chairman of the Cabinet sub-committee on Akrama-Sakrama scheme, told presspersons here on Monday that the Governor returned the Bill to the Government saying that the issue was pending before the Karnataka High Court.

Earlier too, the Governor had refused to give assent to the Ordinance promulgated by the Government for regularisation of illegal constructions in different cities across the State.

The Governor told the Government that the Bill needed to be discussed in detail in the State legislature.

Following the Governor's decision to return the Bill, the State is exploring various options, including legal, for regularisation of illegal structures.

The issue would be discussed with Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs S. Suresh Kumar and Advocate-General Ashok Harnahalli, he said. Mr. Ashok said that the Advocate-General had informed him that the matter was not before the court. The Government would provide all clarifications sought by the Governor and appealed to him to reconsider his decision.

The Bill was passed without a debate and amid dharna by the Opposition which was demanding a CBI probe into the illegal export of iron ore from the State, during the budget session of the State legislature.

Mr. Suresh Kumar told the media that he or other Ministers would meet the Governor, if necessary, and convince him about the importance of the Bill.

The Bill was passed keeping in mind the interests of the poor and middle-class families who had built houses on revenue sites measuring 30x40 ft and 20x20 ft, or built houses in violation of the law.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Akrama-Sakrama Bill passed in Assembly by voice vote;

Date:16/07/2010 -URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2010/07/16/stories/2010071664740400.htm

BANGALORE:The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party passed several Bills, including the controversial anti-cow slaughter Bill, in the State Legislature on Thursday amid continuing dharna and sloganeering by the combined Opposition.

Unlike the last three days when the presiding officers adjourned the Houses without transacting any business in the face of the agitation by Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) members' demand for a CBI probe into illegal mining, both the Houses took up the listed agenda and conducted proceedings notwithstanding the dharna.

In the Assembly, Speaker K.G. Bopaiah began the proceedings by taking up Question Hour - though all members who had questions were in the well of the House - while Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Kumar placed answers to unstarred questions.

Amid noisy scenes with the Opposition members, who were wearing black scarves, shouting slogans against the Government, Ministers of Departments concerned placed the demands for grants for discussion. Later, six Bills were passed with voice vote even as the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) members tore copies of the agenda. The Speaker adjourned the House later.

Ruckus in Council

Even in the Legislative Council, similar scenes of protest enacted with Opposition members shouting slogans against the Government for its refusal to order a CBI probe into illegal mining.

When Chairman D.H. Shankaramurthy began taking up items listed on the agenda, the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) members, who were in the well of the House, kept up a chorus of anti-Government slogans. A few members clambered atop the table in front of the Chairman's podium and tore the papers apart even as they shouted slogans.

Amid the ruckus, three Bills, including Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill 2010 were tabled and passed by voice vote. The other Bills passed included the Alliance University Bill 2010 and Karnataka Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Bill 2010.

The Government's "strategy" of passing the Bills in the midst of agitation was roundly criticised by the Opposition in both the Houses. While Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah described the passage of the Bills without any discussion as "anti-democratic", Leader of the Opposition in the Council Motamma came down heavily on the Government for passing controversial Bills like anti-cow slaughter and Alliance University by "stealth".

Other Bills

The Assembly also passed the Karnataka Town and Country Planning and Certain Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009 popularly known as the Akrama-Sakrama Bill.

Other Bills passed included the Karnataka Information Technology Investment Regions Bill, 2010; Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2010; the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage (Amendment) Bill, 2010; Karnataka Irrigation and Certain Other Law (Amendment) Bill, 2010; Karnataka Town and Country Planning and Certain Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009, and Karnataka Rent (Amendment) Bill, 2008.

The Karnataka Town and Country Planning and Certain Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009, facilitates extension of time limit for filling application for regularisation by one year from the date of implementation of the Act; regularisation of buildings constructed in violation of provisions of law and building bylaw prior to December 3, 2009; and reduction fee/amount for regularisation.

Owners of the buildings have to pay 6 per cent of the market value, determined in accordance with the Karnataka Stamp Act, 1957, in the case of the violation of setback norms and permissible floor area ratio does not exceeds 25 per cent; and 8 per cent of the market value for those who violate set back norms and floor area ratio from 25 per cent to 50 per cent.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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BBMP considering buying TDR from residents

Date:23/06/2010 -URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2010/06/23/stories/2010062363700300.htm

Bangalore: The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) may buy the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) from residents itself in the near future, Mayor S.K. Nataraj has said.

Speaking to presspersons here on Tuesday, he said that the civic authority was exploring this option. "BBMP may buy the TDR from the people and then sell it for a profit later to those interested. Else, the TDR could be used by the civic authority itself. However, the Government will have to take a decision in this regard."

To a question, Mr. Nataraj denied that the Government was withdrawing the TDR scheme. He said that the civic authority officials and Mayor would soon discuss the option with Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and city in-charge Ministers Katta Subramanya Naidu and R. Ashok. The BBMP officials will raise this issue during the discussions on the Akrama-Sakrama scheme, he added.

The BBMP is also considering opening a registry where the TDR holders and buyers can register themselves.

About the opposition to the Chamarajpet road-widening project, the Mayor alleged that the tenants' lobby was at work. "The building owners or the residents are not part of the protest. When neither the buildings have been marked nor the notices issued, the people are staging protests. The road needs to be widened, given the traffic volume," he said.

Dengue

Mr. Nataraj said that he had directed the health officials to intensify mosquito control programmes. "If the division or zone does not have the requisite staff or equipment, the officials can hire them," he added.

Earlier, Mr. Nataraj reviewed the works taken up in Jayanagar Assembly Constituency along with MLA B.N. Vijayakumar. He came down heavily on officials for not reviewing the works regularly.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Akrama-Sakrama to generate Rs 10,000 crore?

Date:03/03/2010 - URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2010/03/03/stories/2010030360030300.htm

Bangalore: The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) can generate Rs. 10,000 crore through regularisation of unauthorised constructions and layouts under the proposed Akrama-Sakrama scheme, Chief Minister B.S Yeddyurappa said here on Tuesday.

Speaking after inaugurating a flyover built across railway level-crossing at Wheeler Road-Cox Town, he said the implementation of the scheme would result in generation of funds for the BBMP to take up development projects while providing relief for the people who are waiting for regularisation of their properties.

He said that annual revenue from property tax for the BBMP could be raised to Rs. 1,400 crore from the present Rs. 800 crore if all owners paid property tax while adding that the BBMP will use the Geographic Information System, which is already put in place, to plug evasion of property tax payment.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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The 'beneficiaries' have to wait

Date:16/01/2010 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/pp/2010/01/16/stories/2010011650430700.htm

The Akrama-Sakrama regularisation scheme again hits a roadblock and will take quite some time to be implemented

The hopes and aspirations of a large number of Bangaloreans in particular, apart from those owning unauthorised constructions in several tier-two cities of the State, to utilise the Akrama-Sakrama scheme and thus legalise their dwelling unit continues to remain a distant dream with the Governor, H.R.Bhardwaj, suggesting a thorough discussion on the issue on the floor of the Legislature.

Successive Governments over the last five years have attempted to bring forth the regularisation scheme and their attempts have been thwarted owing to various reasons. Two former Governors - T.N. Chaturvedi and Rameshwar Thakur - were compelled to step in during their tenure to convey to the Government of the day that they should consider all aspects before finalising the scheme and the amendments to the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act (this is mandatory for implementing the regularisation scheme) were finally approved by the Governor in mid-2007 with a validity for a brief period in-built in it.

The action of the incumbent Governor too is on similar lines while turning down the request of the Government for promulgating an ordinance. It should be noted that there is also a public interest litigation pending in the High Court in the same matter wherein relief has been sought on certain provisions of the 2007 Act.

The number of unauthorised constructions in the State has swelled with every passing year and what was four lakh when the regularisation scheme was first proposed in 2004 has now touched nearly 13 lakh of which 10 lakh is in Bangalore alone.

Given the nature of the reply given by the Governor to the proposal of the State Cabinet to promulgate an ordinance, the regularisation scheme is expected to be implemented well after the elections to the council of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike scheduled to be gone through on February 21.

Discussion sought

The much-touted scheme of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party aimed at pleasing Bangaloreans has thus hit a roadblock right away with the Opposition parties keen on a full-fledged discussion on the subject which is likely only in the budget session of the State Legislature in March. For the scheme to be implemented, the Government has to bring forth an amendment to the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act and this is the chief obstacle for the Government in pushing through with the regularisation scheme.

Sources in the two main Opposition parties in the two Houses of the Karnataka Legislature, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), told The Hindu that they are happy with the decision of the Governor to refrain from promulgating an ordinance. "It is an important subject which involves the lives of several lakhs of people. There has to be a full-fledged discussion on the Karnataka Town Planning (amendment) Bill."

Leaders of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) told The Hindu they were not per se against the Akrama-Sakrama scheme but were keen on a detailed discussion. It has to be ensured that real estate developers and commercial builders who have indulged in gross violations of building bye-laws are not showered with benefits in the garb of taking care of the economically weaker sections who have constructed a small house on a revenue site with difficulty. It should be ensured that the scheme is only for the benefit of the common people and not to safeguard the interests of the rich and hence the need for a detailed discussion, they said.

Sources in the Government told The Hindu that it may take another six months for the scheme to be implemented given the ramifications involved in the regularisation process. People will, however, have a year's time to apply for regularisation from the date of commencement of the process, although the cut-off date for regularisation has been fixed - December 3, 2009 - the date on which the State Cabinet approved the scheme. Soon after the legislation is enacted, the rules governing the scheme have to be drafted and notified, calling for objections which is also time consuming.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Ordinance approved for Akrama-Sakrama

Date:13/01/2010 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2010/01/13/stories/2010011353860400.htm

Bangalore: The State Cabinet, which met here on Tuesday, has approved an ordinance for the implementation of the Akrama-Sakrama scheme aimed at the regularisation of unauthorised residential sites and violations in building bylaws. The ordinance is expected to the be sent to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj for promulgation. - Special Correspondent © Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Implementation of Akrama-Sakrama scheme likely to be delayed

Date:14/12/2009 -URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/12/14/stories/2009121450330100.htm

Bangalore: The Akrama-Sakrama Scheme aimed at regularising nearly six to seven lakh unauthorised constructions and residential sites in Bangalore alone may be implemented well after the elections to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Council on February 21.

The much-touted scheme of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party aimed at wooing the electorate in the BBMP elections is expected to hit a roadblock right away, as the Opposition wants a full-fledged discussion on the subject in the legislature, which is highly unlikely in the session commencing on Monday.

For the scheme to be implemented, the Government has to amend the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act. As the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) have decided to seek a discussion into the Karnataka Town Planning (Amendment) Bill, the Government is apparently in two minds on whether to table the Bill.

Once tabled, a Bill has to be passed or rejected by the legislature, and consequently this would mean that the Government cannot promulgate an Ordinance after the session is prorogued.

The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) are reportedly not against the Akrama-Sakrama scheme per se, but rather are against the "hidden agenda" of the ruling party, and want a detailed discussion. With other important issues, including the iron ore mining controversy, expected to occupy centre-stage in the brief session of the legislature, discussion on the Akrama-Sakrama scheme appears unlikely.

Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah and Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council and V.S. Ugrappa, and senior Janata Dal (S) leader M.C. Nanaiah said that a threadbare discussion was essential if only to ensure that the scheme benefited the economically weaker groups - those who have constructed small houses on revenue sites - and not real estate developers and commercial builders who have indulged in gross violations of building bylaws.

Sources in the Government told The Hindu that it may take another four to six months for the scheme to be implemented, given the lengthy regularisation process. People will, however, have a year's time to apply for regularisation from the date of commencement of the process although the cut-off date for regularisation has been fixed as December 3, 2009, the date on which the State Cabinet approved the scheme.

If the Government does not table the Bill in the ensuing session it can always seek to move an Ordinance.

If that happens, the Opposition has decided to request the Governor not to promulgate the Ordinance, given the "hidden agenda" of the Government.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Akrama-Sakrama will take some time

Date:05/12/2009 -URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/12/05/stories/2009120550320100.htm

BANGALORE: An estimated seven lakh property owners in Bangalore are looking forward to regularisation of unauthorised constructions as part of the Akrama-Sakrama scheme approved by the Cabinet on Thursday. However, their hopes of early notification of the scheme may be dashed as it entails amendment of the Town and Country Planning Act. Senior officials of the Urban Development Department said the Legislature, scheduled to meet from December 14, was expected to debate the proposed amendments in the form of a Bill.

"A notification can be issued only after the Bill approved by the Legislature is ratified by the Governor," said an official.

Also, the official said, a draft notification indicating the guidelines had to be published in the gazette, giving at least 15 days' time for objections and suggestions before commencing the scheme, which will be operative only for three months from then.

The need to amend the Act is in view of the "time-bound" nature of its provision. "Akrama-Sakrama provisions cannot be indefinite because it will encourage unauthorised constructions in future," said the official.

The notification can also be delayed if the State Election Commission announces the calendar of events for the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections. In such a case, the scheme can be implemented only after the elections.

Demolition resentment

Meanwhile, the scheme comes at a time when the BBMP is on overdrive to demolish "legally built" houses for road-widening projects in various parts of the city. Eighty-five roads have been notified for widening to ease traffic congestion, entailing the demolition or part-demolition of thousands of commercial and residential buildings.

There is widespread bitterness among property owners averse to the Transfer of Developmental Rights given to them in return for their lost property.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Approved Akrama-Sakrama scheme draws flak

Date:05/12/2009 -URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/12/05/stories/2009120552650300.htm

Good citizens appear like honest fools: Mysore Grahakara Parishat

MYSORE: The Government's decision to regularise unauthorised housing layouts and building bylaw violations for domestic and commercial structures under Akrama-Sakrama scheme has drawn flak from the non-governmental organisations in the city.

The Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) has said in a release that the regularisation of unauthorised housing layouts and violations of building bylaws up to 50 per cent for domestic and 25 per cent for commercial structures shows the ineffectiveness of urban governance in Karnataka. MGP president Maj.Gen. (retd) Sudhir Vombatkere said: "The penalty intended to now be levied cannot compensate for loss of tax revenue over the many years when Completion Report was not issued and tax not recovered. It also makes citizens who have not committed violations and paid tax, appear like honest fools. Regularisation sends the message that breaking laws and bylaws can be compensated by payment of money; that it can be profitable to break the law for a price.

Taking exception to the Government's reasoning that it will help realise revenue in crores of rupees, the MGP said: "It appears that earning revenue is the most important if not the only consideration for urban governance." He added that the move was a formal abdication of governance. He also wondered as to what guidance the Cabinet has given the urban local bodies with regard to violators who do not respond to the offer of regularisation because they cannot afford to pay up the penalty. "What guidelines have been provided to urban local bodies to control unauthorised housing layouts and bylaw violations starting from the cut-off date of December 3, 2009? Or is 50 per cent (domestic) and 25 per cent (commercial) the starting point for on-going and future constructions, and will unauthorised housing layouts be permitted and regularised in due course, for a consideration at the operating level?" he questioned.

Land-use pattern

Mr. Vombatkere also raised issues related to unabated change of land use policy being permitted by the Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) in spite of MGP's serious objections to it. This assumes significance in the light of the ongoing discussion on urban planning.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Akrama-Sakrama scheme approved by Cabinet

Date:04/12/2009- URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/12/04/stories/2009120453980500.htm

Bangalore: The State Cabinet has given approval to the Akrama-Sakrama scheme for regularisation of unauthorised housing layouts and violations in building bylaws across the State.

The scheme will come into effect immediately (after it is notified in the State gazette) and building bylaw violations up to 25 per cent for commercial structures and up to 50 per cent for residential structures will be regularised. The penalty for various categories and varieties of violations has also been slashed by 50 per cent. All violations, with December 3, 2009, being the cut-off date, will be eligible under the regulation scheme, and those who pay the finewithin a specified period (likely to be a month) will be eligible for a 5 per cent discount.

Further, the declaration and the fine to be paid will also be similar to the self-assessment scheme (SAS) in payment of the property taxes. All building owners will be given three months' time to submit their application and the applications received will be processed within a period of three months. In other words, violations can be regularised within a period of six months after the notification is gazetted.

Revenue expected

The Government expects a revenue of Rs. 10,000 crore, and of this around Rs. 6,000 crore will accrue in Bangalore alone which accounts for the highest number of building bylaw violations in the State, followed by Mysore, Mangalore and Hubli-Dharwad.

Briefing presspersons on the decisions of the Cabinet, Home Minister V.S. Acharya and the Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs S. Suresh Kumar said successive governments had sought to implement the scheme since 2004 and the previous coalition Government of H.D. Kumaraswamy had even brought forth amendments to the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act to enable the implementation of the scheme.

The Cabinet which met here on Thursday has approved in toto the recommendations of a Cabinet sub-committee on the Akrama-Sakrama scheme, headed by Minister for Transport R. Ashok, who is also the district in charge Minister for Bangalore.

Reasonable fines

Mr. Acharya said the fines would be reasonable for smaller housing sites and there would also be a ceiling limit on the fines. For a site of dimension 20 x 30 feet with a building thereon, the cap on fine will be Rs. 30,000 in zone B and Rs. 45, 000 in Zone A, for site measuring 30 x 40 feet it will be Rs. 60,000 and Rs. 90,000, and for site measuring 60 x 40 feet it will be Rs. 1.8 lakh and Rs. 2.1 lakh, respectively.

Difficulties

The Akrama-Sakrama scheme, enunciated by the H.D. Kumaraswamy Government could not be implemented following stringent opposition from the people over the high penalty rates. The Legislative Assembly recently also adopted the Karnataka Land Revenue (second amendment) Bill 2009, which seeks to regularise all unauthorised layouts and house sites developed prior to December 31, 2008. Unauthorised constructions on government property, parks and footpaths will be ineligible for regularisation under the scheme.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Akrama Sakrama: suggested penalty not people-friendly

Date:03/10/2009- URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/10/03/stories/2009100358670300.htm

BANGALORE: The claim of the Cabinet Sub-committee on Regularisation of Unauthorised Construction that has recommended slashing of penalty by over 50 per cent appears to be eyewash.

The suggested penalty is not only higher than the previous recommendations, but is also more than double of what was fixed by the H.D. Kumaraswamy government and more than four times of that fixed during the President's Rule

Though the State Cabinet has to take a final call on the recommendations of the sub-committee, headed by Transport Minister R. Ashok, the final outcome is expected to be more or less the same. Hence, those who plan to opt for the scheme to regularise their sites and constructions might have to shell out more than what they had planned.

Immediately after assuming office, the BJP Government constituted the sub-committee promising to offer a "people-friendly" Akrama-Sakrama scheme.

Mr. Ashok had on September 22 announced that the penalty to regularise construction on a 20 ft X 30 ft site could range between Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 45,000 as against the original Rs. 72,000; between Rs. 60,000 and Rs. 90,000 on a 30 ft X 40 ft site as against the original Rs. 1.62 lakh; and between Rs. 1.8 lakh and Rs. 2.1 lakh for 40 ft X 60 ft site as against Rs. 4.23 lakh fixed earlier.

As per the original Akrama-Sakrama scheme, framed by the Kumaraswamy government, Rs. 200 per sq m was fixed as penalty to regularise violations relating to formation of sites for land measuring up to 60 sq m (a 20 ft X 30 ft site measures 54 sq m).

As per this, the penalty would have been Rs. 10,800. For sites measuring between 60 sq m and 120 sq m, the penalty was fixed at Rs. 400 per sq m.

For a 30 ft X 40 ft site, which measures 108 sq m, the penalty would have been Rs. 43,200. For sites measuring beyond 120 sq m, the penalty was fixed at Rs. 600 and for a 40 ft X 60 ft site (360 sq m) Rs. 2.16 lakh. After protests and court cases, the penalty was slashed when the State was under Central rule.

Accordingly, the penalty for sites measuring less than 60 sq m was reduced to Rs. 40 per sq m, i.e., Rs. 2,160 for a 20 ft X 30 ft site; and Rs. 160 for sites measuring between 60 sq m and 120 sq m, i.e., Rs. 17,820 for a 30 ft X 40 ft site. Penalty for bigger sites, however, was unchanged.

G.R. Somashekhara, who has built his house on a revenue site measuring 108 sq m (30 ft X 40 ft) off Magadi Road, termed the sub-committee recommendations as farcical. "When the Government announced that it would rework the penalty structure and come out with a people-friendly Akram-Sakrama scheme, I had thought the penalty would be below Rs. 10,000. Now, I'll have to pay more than what the Kumaraswamy government had prescribed."

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Akrama-Sakrama: subcommittee for 50 per cent cut in penalties

Date:23/09/2009 -URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/09/23/stories/2009092350370100.htm

Bangalore: The Cabinet Subcommittee for Regularisation of Unauthorised Constructions in the State, which met here on Tuesday, has recommended slashing of penalty rates applicable under the earlier Akrama-Sakrama Scheme by nearly 50 per cent.

Minister for Transport R. Ashok, who is in-charge for Bangalore North and is also chairman of the subcommittee, said the penalty for violations of building laws and unauthorised structures on revenue sites would range between Rs. 5,000 (for minor violations) to Rs. 2.10 lakh. Further, people could seek regularisation over a six-month period (once the implementation of the scheme is announced) as against the earlier three-month period.

The penalty that the owner of a building on an unauthorised residential site measuring 20 feet by 30 feet may have to cough up will vary between Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 45,000 compared to the Rs. 72,000 which was fixed earlier. For a 30 feet by 40 feet unauthorised site, the penalty will range between Rs. 60,000 and Rs. 90,000 compared to the Rs. 1.62 lakh fixed earlier. For a site measuring 40 feet by 60 feet, the penalty will vary between Rs. 1.80 lakh and Rs. 2.10 lakh compared to the Rs. 4.23 lakh suggested earlier.

The penalties, which were earlier roughly 15 per cent of the guideline values of the properties, have now been reduced to eight per cent.

The Akrama-Sakrama Scheme, formulated during the H.D. Kumaraswamy regime, could not be implemented following stringent opposition from people over high penalty rates.

Estimate

The estimation is that there are nearly seven lakh unauthorised structures in Bangalore alone, and the Government is pushing through with the implementation of the scheme obviously with an eye on the elections to the council of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). With the subcommittee finalising its recommendations on the penalties to be imposed, the matter is expected to come up before the Cabinet in about a fortnight. Thereafter, the Government has to submit an ordinance to the Governor for assent and promulgation.

Thus the Akrama-Sakrama is expected to be ready for implementation in about a month from now, as the BBMP has to also finalise the penalties based on the residential and commercial zones.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Buyer can cancel deal if builder delays project: consumer court

http://www.thehindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082354320600.htm

BANGALORE: The developer is duty-bound to return the amount paid by buyer when there is delay in execution of the housing project and the buyer is well within his rights to cancel the agreement with the developer when he sees no progress in the project.

This was observed by the 3rd Additional Bangalore District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in the two cases against Ittina Properties Limited.

'Failure'

"It's the failure of the company to materialise with the project that has compelled the complainants to move for cancellation of the agreements of sale," the forum observed.

It further said the company was not in a position to sell and deliver the possession of flats in the near future.

"Therefore in the fitness of things, the company should have refunded the amount paid by the complainants at the time of booking," the forum said.

This observation has been made in the complaints filed by Nilanjan Chakraborti and Dharmesh S. Rao. Mr. Chakraborti and Mr. Rao wanted to buy flats in the proposed Ittina Arni apartments of the Ittina Properties coming up in Hoodi village in K.R. Puram.

The two paid Rs. 2.66 lakh and Rs. 2.92 lakh of the total sale consideration of Rs. 26.6 lakh and Rs. 29.19 lakh for booking the flats.

Agreements

The two signed agreements of sale with the company in January 2007.

On its part, the company had agreed to deliver possession of the flats on or before October 2007. Mr. Chakraborti and Mr. Rao had agreed to pay the remaining amount in equitable instalments

Progress

When they did not see any material progress in the project, they stopped paying any further amount to the company and sought cancellation of the sale and demanded refund of the booking amount. When the company refused, the two approached the forum.

The company contended before the forum that it could not complete the project as the State Government's "Akrama/Sakrama" scheme came in the way. The company also said that disputes had arisen between the landowners and private parties over the title of land on which the apartments were to come up.

The company said that as complainants had voluntarily terminated the agreements and it could refund by deducting 30 per cent of booking amount.

'No justification'

In the order on August 14, the forum members Subhashini, H.M. Shivalingappa and Srivathasa Kelilaya said that there was no justification by the company to retain any portion of the booking amount.

They directed the company to refund Rs. 2.66 lakh and Rs. 2.92 lakh respectively with 18 per cent interest from January 20, 2007.

They have also asked the company to pay Rs. 10,000 each to the two complainants and to comply with the order within 30 days.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Unauthorised layouts, sites to be regularised

Date:29/07/2009 -URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/07/29/stories/2009072958210100.htm

Bangalore: The Legislative Assembly on Tuesday adopted the Karnataka Land Revenue (second amendment) Bill 2009 which seeks to regularise all unauthorised layouts and house sites developed prior to December 31, 2008.

Minister for Revenue G. Karunakara Reddy, who piloted the bill, described it is a one-time measure to provide relief to a large number of people who had constructed houses in unauthorised layouts or on unauthorised sites and were not in possession of valid ownership documents. "There is no interplay of politics in the Government bringing forth the legislation. It is applicable all over the State."

Chief Minister. B.S. Yeddyurappa supported the Revenue Minister in the smooth passage of the Bill following vociferous demand by the Opposition that the Bill be screened by a joint select committee of the legislature before it could be ratified. The Government, however, stuck to its stand and the Bill was adopted with the Opposition staging a walk-out.

Mr. Karunakara Reddy said: "The registration of revenue sites in unauthorised layouts and sites in the approved but developed layouts, particularly in and around Bangalore and other city municipal corporations in the State was banned as the layouts and sites were on agricultural lands without conversion. There are nearly five lakh persons who have purchased such sites and built houses thereon and are facing undue hardships. This is a one-time comprehensive scheme subject to certain reasonable conditions." The legislation seeks to regularise all unauthorised structures and even the layouts and house sites formed on revenue lands, which include agricultural lands.

Hitherto, the government had banned the formation of such layouts and houses constructed in such layouts or even the sites were denied registration. As per an estimate, there are nearly 10 lakh such houses and sites in Bangalore alone.

The details of the regularisation process will be drafted in the rules to be formed under the amendments to the Land Revenue Act.

There is, however, no clarity on whether the Government will impose betterment and development charges on such unauthorised constructions and sites and if so what will be the quantum of such charges.

This has been described as a matter of detail and will be spelt out in due course. In a way, the regularisation announced under the Revenue Act is another format of the Akrama-Sakrama scheme contemplated nearly two years ago and has been awaiting implementation. That scheme, however, pertained to the jurisdiction of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike while the amendments of Tuesday are applicable to all parts of the State.

The H.D. Kumaraswamy-led coalition Government had taken pains to implement the Akrama-Sakrama scheme in 2007 and it was then estimated that nearly six lakh unauthorised constructions in Bangalore would stand to benefit.

The situation was much better in the other major towns and cities of the State including Mangalore, Mysore, Gulbarga, Belgaum and Tumkur.

Under the new legislation, some of the conditions include - unauthorised structures or sites in natural drains, on government lands, coming in the way of existing or proposed rings roads, national highways etc, belonging to another person over which the applicant has no title, beneath high tension lines etc., will not be regularised. Owners of buildings having more than two floors have to produce a certificate from a structural engineer and a no-objection certificate from the Fire and Emergency Services Department.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Big builders under the scanner

Date:26/03/2009- URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/03/26/stories/2009032659050300.htm

Norms flouted in 136 large commercial and residential buildings: MCC

MANGALORE: Deputy Commissioner V. Ponnuraj has said that the administration will initiate action against big builders in the city for violation of building bylaws.

According to the Mangalore City Corporation (MCC), 136 large commercial and residential buildings in the city have flouted parking, floor area ratio and setback norms. This list was compiled in response to an application filed by the Citizens' Forum for Mangalore Development under the Right to Information Act in January.

No action has been taken against the owners of these buildings.

In fact, in July 2008, the then Deputy Commissioner, M. Maheshwar Rao, had compiled a list of 17 prominent buildings in the city where there were major violations of the bylaws.

The list was attached to a letter to the Secretary, Urban Development Department, in which Mr. Rao had said, "…action is not initiated against the erring builders at the right stage. Hence I recommend departmental action against the officers concerned of the MCC."

The 17 buildings are: Buildings named in the list include Abhiman Plaza at Bunts Hostel Circle, Bridge Square on Bridge Road in Balmatta, Abhiman Gardens in Mallikatte, Gold Finch Hotel in Balmatta, Somayaji Constructions on M.G. Road, Sai Paradise near Bank of Baroda, Apeksha Residency on Warehouse Road, Mohtisham Building on Arya Samaj Road, Dune Apartments in Shivbaugh, City Trade Centre in Mallikatte, Heritage Apartments in Gandhinagar, Shalini Arcade on Kalakunj Road, Inland Commercial Builders on M.G. Road, Motisham Builders on Kalpane Road, Pam Arcade in Kottara, Deepa Comforts Hotel on M.G. Road and the City Centre Building on K.S. Rao Road. In December 2008, Urban Development Minister S. Suresh Kumar responding in writing to the Deputy Commissioner's report said, "If no action is taken against such open violations by big builders, it amounts to encouragement." Warning that the officials concerned would be reprimanded, the Minister had set a deadline of one month for compliance by the officials.

However, no action has been taken by the officials concerned against the violators so far.

Vidya Dinker, activist of the Citizens' Forum for Mangalore Development, points out that in April 2007 the Lokayukta had taken cognisance of the violations committed in high-rise buildings in the city. Suggesting complicity of the officials concerned, the Lokayukta had recommended to the then Chief Minister that action be initiated against erring officers.

Mr. Ponnuraj told The Hindu on Tuesday that action against big builders was pending because some of them had applied for relief under the Akrama-Sakrama scheme. However, he said, "Parking area violation is clearly left out of the scope of the Akrama-Sakrama scheme. And, most of the builders here have flouted the parking area norms."

President of the Canara Builders' Association P.M. Razzak told The Hindu on Wednesday that the district administration had not conveyed any information regarding building bylaw violations to the association or its members.

Architect and consultant of Mohtisham Builders Dharmaraj said, "99.9 per cent of buildings in Mangalore, including independent houses, have been built in violation of the building bylaws. The severity and the extent of damage caused to society should also be considered while taking action against violators."

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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When the construction is unauthorised

Date:31/01/2009 -URL: http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/pp/2009/01/31/stories/2009013150680300.htm

N.C.S. RAGHAVAN & ARVIND RAGHAVAN

In many apartments, the area constructed exceeds the area sanctioned

Let us look into the meaning of the terms 'unauthorised construction' and 'irregular construction' and the similarity and distinction between the two. Since unauthorised construction is widely prevalent in multi-storeyed buildings such as residential apartments and commercial buildings, we would like to cite them as an example.

In most of the residential apartment buildings, the actual area constructed exceeds the area sanctioned by the relevant statutory authority such as Bangalore Development Authority, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike or Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority. Where the actual constructed area exceeds the area sanctioned as per plan, the excess area constructed becomes an unauthorised construction.

The difference

Where the unauthorised area constructed is equal to or less than five per cent of the sanctioned area as per the plan sanction, such excess area becomes an irregular construction which can be regularised by the payment of a compounding fee to the statutory authority concerned. Where the excess area constructed is more than five per cent of the area sanctioned, it can never be regularised and becomes a totally unauthorised construction. Any building (a single residential house, office or a multi-storeyed building) constructed without obtaining a plan sanction from the authority concerned is also an unauthorised construction.

Similarly, constructions on revenue sites forming a part of an unauthorised layout are also unauthorised since the sites by themselves have no legal validity and any constructions on them also becomes consequentially illegal. In the above cases, under the present law, there is no legal provision to regularise the same by levying a penalty or fine. Only a scheme like Akrama-Sakrama can lead to regularisation of such unauthorised construction.

The chances of marketability of such constructions are remote due to lack of legal and marketable title in the hands of the owners. However, irregular constructions can be regularised by paying a compounding fee or fine and then become marketable.

(N.C.S. Raghavan is a chartered accountant and Arvind Raghavan, an advocate)

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Government for 'people friendly' Akrama-Sakrama scheme

Date:08/11/2008 -URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2008/11/08/stories/2008110850550400.htm

BANGALORE: In order to regularise unauthorised constructions in Bangalore city, the State Government is all set to introduce a "people-friendly" Akrama-Sakrama scheme by amending the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 2004.

The State Cabinet Sub-Committee headed by Minister for Transport R. Ashok met here on Friday and discussed the contentious scheme for regularisation of unauthorised and illegal structures and proposed to bring down the penalty as well as violations of residential buildings up to 75 per cent.

The panel has directed the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to submit a detailed proposal on number of building violations, both commercial and residential, in the city.

The Kumaraswamy Government had amended the Karnataka Town and Country Planning and Other Laws Act, 2004, during its Belgaum session to facilitate regularisation. The Kumaraswamy Government had allowed regularisation of residential buildings with violations of up to 50 per cent and commercial buildings with deviations of up to 25 per cent by simply paying a fee. According to the rules, the compounding fee (penalty) ranges from Rs. 100 a square metre to Rs. 600 a sq. m depending on the size of the area and of the plot or building.

Addressing presspersons after the committee meeting, Mr. Ashok said BBMP and BDA officials, builders and land owners were responsible for construction of unauthorised buildings. New rules would be framed to impose penalty as well as to award punishment for officials, land owners and developers for violation of building laws.

On the regularisation of unauthorised construction properties built by the poor on a site measuring 20 ft X 30ft, Mr. Mr. Ashok said it was proposed to collect small amount from them. Small vendors, autorickshaw drivers and the poor families violated building bylaws. The proposal would benefit lakhs of people within the jurisdiction of the BBMP. The panel was also in favour of reduction in the penalty paid by the middle class families, he said.

Other members of the panel Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Shobha Karandlaje and Minister for Excise and IT/BT Katta Subramanya Naidu did not divulge details on the proposed reduction in the penalty.

Maintaining that the regularisation of illegal structures involved several legal issues, Mr. Ashok said the amended Act would clearly come out new set of rules and regulations to prevent future violations.

The BDA in its revised Comprehensive Development Plan has declared 50 meters on either side of Raja Kaluve as a valley zone. The zone has included private properties too and no compensation had been given. The committee has decided to look into the issue and has asked the BDA to submit a detailed proposal on acquisition of such lands, he added.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Sakrama: fee refund to start from October 15

Date:12/10/2008 -URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2008/10/12/stories/2008101258650300.htm

BANGALORE: The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will refund nearly Rs. 28 crore collected under the Akrama-Sakrama (regularisation of unauthorised development and construction) scheme to the applicants from October 15 to 30.

As the Government is yet to take a final decision on its promise to revise the scheme, the palike thought it fit to refund the amount to nearly 4,000 applicants.

If the applicants do not wish to get the refund, the amount will be retained in their credit.

It will be adjusted towards the fee payable under the amended scheme as and when it is implemented, according to Deputy Commissioner (Resources) U.A. Vasantha Rao. The amount lying in the BBMP accounts will not bear any interest.

Mr. Rao told The Hindu that the BBMP Commissioner took the decision to refund the amount as the Government was likely to revise the scheme again.

The scheme could be made easy. The scheme - Karnataka Town and Country Planning (Regularisation of unauthorised development or construction) Rules, 2007, was passed by the legislature.

The officer said the palike had spent considerable amount on implementing the scheme in 2007.

It had spent over Rs. 1 crore on advertisement campaign alone, besides utilising its complete machinery for implementing the scheme before the Karnataka High Court put it on hold in December 2007.

Report

The Cabinet sub-committee on property tax collection and regularisation headed by Transport Minister R. Ashok is yet to submit its report on the regularisation scheme, though it has already submitted a report favouring self-assessment scheme for property tax collection.

After the High Court put the scheme on hold, the government under the President's Rule, drastically slashed the Sakrama fee for small sites.

While the fee for sites measuring less than 60 sq m was brought down to Rs. 40 a sq m from Rs. 200, that of between 60 sq m and 120 sq m was brought down from Rs. 400 to Rs. 160 a sq m.

However, after the B.S. Yeddyurappa-led Bharatiya Janata Party Government came to power, the scheme was put on hold, considering the public outcry against the high rates of Sakrama fee.

The Government has promised to come out with revised guidelines for the scheme by December.

Refunds will be made only at the head office, BBMP. After October 30, they will be made at the office of the JDTP, BBMP, head office.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Citizens' forum for stay on Akrama-Sakrama scheme

Date:26/11/2007 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2007/11/26/stories/2007112656230300.htm

MYSORE: The citizens' forum will urge the Governor to stay the implementation of the Akrama-Sakrama scheme as it is perceived to benefit the land mafia and harm individual property holders.

A resolution to this effect was passed at a meeting convened by the Association of Concerned and Informed Citizens of Mysore (ACICM) in which more than 400 people participated to discuss the issue and clarify their doubts.

A delegation of citizens will meet Governor Rameshwar Thakur and apprise him of their demands and seek a status quo on the issue.

M. Lakshmana, Convenor of ACICM said the present order was beneficial to the land mafia as it clearly stated that unauthorised layouts could be regularised on payment of a fee. There was a general consensus that unauthorised layouts could not be regularised as they were illegal and that private developers and the land mafia were responsible for it.

Hence the citizens' forum will urge the Governor to constitute a special committee to look into the issue and then promulgate an order after thoroughly studying it. It will also urge the Governor not to regularise such deviations which block the free flow of air and light to neighbouring buildings as the latter will permanently suffer while property owners violating the regulations will enjoy the benefits after a one-time payment .

The meeting also decided that the attention of the Governor would also be drawn to the predicament of property owners who had constructed houses on revenue sites which were earlier under gram panchayats. Those areas were now under the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) limits and hence the owners would have to pay the fine again.

Mr. Lakshmana said the penalty should be on the basis of the market value of the building that prevailed at the time of its construction and not the present day market value. He said that in many cases the fine exceeded the cost of the building which was constructed many years ago. It was also clarified in the meeting that the present scheme was applicable only in cases of buildings that were constructed after the Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) adopted the Master Plan for the city in 1997 which was subsequently amended in 2001.

The resolution will also urge the Governor to keep the Sakrama scheme in perpetuity and not set any deadlines till the deviations were regularised over a period of time.

There was a general complaint from the participants that they got little information from MUDA and the MCC and that none of their doubts were clarified by the authorities.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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Sakrama scheme termed unfair

Date:20/11/2007 -URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2007/11/20/stories/2007112051830300.htm

It violates the rights of law-abiding neighbours, says NGO

Many building bylaws are meant to ensure neighbours have adequate light and ventilation
Regularisation is in violation of the constitutional rights of neighbours

MYSORE: The State Government's decision to regularise unauthorised constructions and building bylaw violations by charging a penalty has drawn the ire of NGOs, who have pointed out that the constitutional rights of the neighbours of those who have broken the rules are being violated.

A Government Order was issued calling for a one-time regularisation under the Akrama-Sakrama Scheme, and December 14 is the last date for regularisation of such illegal constructions that violate the building bylaws and setback regulations by an extent of 50 per cent for residential structures and 25 per cent for commercial buildings.

However, Ananda Thirtha of the Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) has pointed out that such regularisation of illegal constructions, including violation of setback dimensions, can be objected to on several counts, but the most serious objections is that such regularisation does not address the rights of the neighbours under Article 21 to adequate light and ventilation.

Public health

He says the purpose of many building bylaws is to provide neighbours with adequate light and ventilation in the interest of public health. "If prescribed setbacks are violated, the neighbours are denied this fundamental right in perpetuity. Regularising setback violations by levying a one-time fine is unfair to the neighbour since his right to a healthy environment with adequate light and ventilation will continue to be violated for ever.

Therefore, in the interest of justice, building violations that adversely affect the light and ventilation of a neighbour should not be regularised by a one-time fine," said Mr. Thirtha.

The parishat has mooted the idea of a steep increase in the property tax of such buildings by 500 per cent so that the owners of such illegal buildings will continue to pay for the violation every year as long as the violation remains standing.

Property tax

The parishat also says this approach is definitely fairer than regularisation with a one-time fine because if the property tax enhancement is sufficiently high, the owner might find it more expedient to demolish the illegal portions of the building on his own, thus setting right the bylaw violation.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

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