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Sakrama - setting things right?

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Saturday afternoon, I spotted this notice in front of a commercial building in Banashankari. One look at the building, and I could guess what it could be. The building has a basement - must have been approved for parking usage - that houses retail stores. [PS: obfuscated the address etc from photo]

After looking at this BBMP notice, this is what I was thinking. How many commercial buildings of this size (not too large, not too small) would have violations? From what I see, perhaps a good 30-40%. If you include the newly added peripheral areas (the new B in BBMP), I bet the percentage would be higher.

gb6 I recall attending parties in few landmark hotels and restaurants in Jayanagar where I noticed there wasn't enough place to park, and all the guests were served lunch in the basement! I see that most of the new large retail stores along Ring Road in Marathahalli have no provision for parking. Next time you shop in Gandhi Bazaar area, notice those shops operating out of the basements.

Talking residential buildings, many 'independent' houses on the famous 30x40 / 40x60 plots have setback violations. Quiet a few have micro-encorachments as well, mostly to enable residents to fit in a parked car inside locked iron gates!

So where I am going with all this? Well, to a question - why are the violations so rampant and common? Why did so many people choose to break the bylaw? And, will Sakrama scheme put and end to all this?

Sakrama scheme - a practical one, because you can't just demolish every other building - sounds good. But in the letters to editors and such, I see two questions around it:

1) Bribes must have been exchanged around most of these violations. Sakrama penalizes the briber givers, but not the folks who took the money?

2) Does Sakrama offer a "window" of violation to builders? If I build something with 20-30% violation next year, is it likely that a similar scheme in future will 'rescue' me?

My answer to #1 - There is probably no way of proving the identities of bribe-takers. The bribes, after all, were under-the-table deals.

And the answer to #2 - depends. If BBMP continues to do a lousy job at ongoing enforcement of bylaws, thus creating an army of violators by the day, then yes, we could see Sakrama again.

Comments

silkboard's picture

Not every violation

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... will be regularized. Refer this DH article, which says that following ...

Violations not to be regularised
* Encroachment on government land or property belonging to government undertaking, board, corporation or vested in any urban development authority or local authority, or Bangalore Development Authority
* Encroachment of neighbour’s property.
* Land reserved for civic amenities.
* Land that is effected by the alignment of any road or proposed ring road, national highway, bye pass, outer ring road, or Mass Rapid Transit Transport. 
* Land declared as ‘Red’ in zonal regulation. 
* Basement or usage in contravention of bylaw. 
* Land abutting storm water drain, tank bed, river course, bed, or channel. 
* Land covered by coastal zonal regularizations of the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India. 
* Below high tension electric line.
* Developments made in an agriculture zone of the Approved Master Plan or green belt area as declared under Karnataka Land Revenue Act 1964. 
* Setback and FAR exceeding the permissible limits, etc. 

tsubba's picture

sakrama

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sb.. thanks man for getting to sakrama. very curious and interesting stuff this. first about your note on tracking the officers. i think that should be fairly easy. one there must be the officers signature on approval of plans. otherwise they can look at the dates on the approvals and see who was incharge on that day at that location. now the bribe amount cannot be pinned, but the evidence of violation is in brick & mortar. so irrespective of whether the officer approved the violation for love or rupees, he presided over violation. now it occurs to me the incharge officer can say,when i signed it it was ok, they built after that. then track all people who were supposed to be incharge of monitoring violations in the interim. now it is very likely that nobody will come up. but in the last 20-30 years. the question is how many officers were even posted during this time. 200, 300? what to do then? now if i remember correctly, bangalorean pointed out that if the laws are being violated time and again and by all, then that law is useless. perhaps byelaws are useless and anachronist for 20x30,30x40, and even 40x60 sites. then abolish byelaws. byelaws are designed with certain nice&cute concepts in mind - there must air, light etc etc... obviously the people themselves are not interested in these ideas. so why should the govt impose them on people? here is a simple "rule", every house can use up all of the site area provided, 5 neighbours (left-right- and 3 houses behind) have no objection to it, which they have to give in writing. but on the front side not 1 inch is to be violated. ie, micro violoations on the front are a strict no-no, because that is public space. end of controversy. neighbours themselves will enforce byelaws if interested - eliminates "official" interference. those who want to build all over will have to deal with 5 ordinary citizens.
s_yajaman's picture

Do not democratize enforcement

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Tarle, Have to differ with you on this. I should not have to bear the responsibility of enforcing things around my area. Imagine I object to a violation and then the person concerned starts harassing me and threatening me (which in today's lawless Bangalore is more than a possibility). What recourse do I have? Take the case of my mother-in-law. She has apartments next door. One of the occupants just started a construction on the terrace of the apartment (an extra apartment essentially). My mother-in-law and a small group protested and wrote to the BBMP, etc. The man in question filed a police complaint against my mother-in-law's domestic help. My mother-in-law somehow rescued her. The BBMP refused to do anything as they were hand in glove - they in fact let him dump material,etc. Now the case is in court. Construction has stopped. The point is that no one in the apartment protested as they did not want trouble. This system might work in the suburbs of the US where people have a recourse to law and the local enforcement agencies are probably free of corruption. Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

grande_illusion's picture

Sakrama violates equality under law

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I see a more fundamental problem with laws like this. For eg. Can the govt. bring in a law tomorrow which says for next three months all those who committed murder can apply for pardon! So then what happens to all those who commit murder after those three months and what about those who never committed murder either fearing the law against murder or because they believed in upholding the law of the land? Thus there is a serious problem with the logic being applied to bring in such laws. The regularization law is prima facie illegal! Just because the legislature has the power to pass laws does not mean they can do anything. I am sure this is being tested in the courts now. - Maya
Naveen's picture

Sakrama - most accurately described.

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Maya - Absolutely Right. What you mention is so correct. My take on this is as follows : Building violations have occurred on a very large scale, both commercial & residential. Building violators can be given a set time period, say one year to demolish /rectify their buildings to conform with bye-laws. There may be some who cannot do this because the whole structure may be affected, or they may simply decide not to rectify their violations. In such cases, after the deadline, a stiff penalty is to be imposed & their property tax will need to be hiked up substantially based on the extent of violation. Commercial buildings would also need to contribute to the construction of multi-storeyed parking units since such buildings usually provide no parking facilities & their activities would crowd the roadsides with parked cars. Thus, such buildings would become unattractive to them since they will realise that they are shelling out exorbitant bye-law violation charges & paying out much more annually as long as they maintain their buildings with violations. This will spur them to think of either demolishing the building entirely or try to demolish parts of their buildings to stay within bye-laws. This will act as a deterrent against violations for new constructions & everyone will fall in line eventually, though it may take some time for the system to settle & be successful. Implementation is another question mark as building owners will try to manipulate & pay bribes - so, a system has to be developed & a database of building violations composed independently by a private agency who should have incentives to register such cases with actual proof such as drawings pointing out the deviations, etc. This may involve some investments from the govt, but it will be worth it since it will profit in the long run by way of bringing down such violations in the long term. Instead of coming up with such severe measures, govt is trying to pardon them for violations with only a one time payment & such a move will encourage others to do the same & then seek pardon at some later time ! The courts will obviously judge that it cannot accept violations as it goes against the very principles of justice, but I doubt if this will prevent the sakrama scheme from going ahead since the legislature consists of a mix of interests, most of which is party to such violations & will naturally bat for pardoning & regularising them. This is synonymous with what has already occurred in Delhi (Sealing drive!) & in Mumbai (Ullasnagar case, where the corporator himself had violated bye-laws).
City.Zen's picture

Convenient Laws

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Changing laws to suit vested interests is a game our politicos play all the time. That is how the biggest business empire was built in the country. Today's headlines report that the SC is not at all pleased with the Oust Venugopal Law signed by Madam Presi dent. Might is always right, even if on the wrong track. City Zen
City Zen
Sajith's picture

Why Sakarma ??

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While Sakarma on building violations are fine.What i dont understand is BBMP's rule that all houses which were constructed in the erstwhile gram panchayat areas which have now come under BBMP are all unauthorized.the BBMP states that panchayats do not have power to sanction and approve plans.what that means is that all the buildings constructed outside of BBMP are all unauthorized.Doesnt this sound weird to people who have been living for a long time in the village areas that are now under BBMP will have to now pay Sakarma.
Baski's picture

What could be a better solution?

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Instead of discussing the more on this Sakarma Project, I would suggest some tips to avoid such deviations in future. My Case: Infact my apartment was violated, and I am *absolutely-unaware* that I was buying (in 2005) a apartment that is not approved. My Apartment has 100% violation. . I got a legal opinion from a lawyer who checked the documents. . I also got a loan from private bank on this. . I bought this with my savings that I have made so far in my life. . I paid govt 1.35 lakhs for registration. and paying house tax, etc. . In my locality most of the Apartments (90%) are violated. How to prevent? 1. Dont allow any new registrations of violated properties. When component autority (BBMP) and Registerar office comes under State Govt, they can work as single entity to benifit home buyers. 2. Govt can consider implementing a check for authorities approval, before the registration of any new building / apartment. Incase if the Apartment plan is not approved, then it can be re-directed to concerned autorities for approval. Let the builder pay the penality for the deviations. 3. When you allow builders to sell any kind violations, no scheme can stop this. With this way, there is no chance for corruption and will not affect the common people. Once builder sells the Apartment he will be least bothered if his customers suffers, etc. My request to Govt. is, Please make your rules from the home buyers point of view. (not from builders point of view). And have rules & regulations to protect the home buyers. and donot hit their life mercilessly. Thanks.
ashisp's picture

What is new and what next?

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There was a deadline for Sakrama sometime in Dec 07. What is the latest news about apartments?

And how the new violations will be treated which are not yet registered?

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