It is a classic case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has admitted its ignorance about how many buildings in the city possess an occupation certificate (OC) and how many do not. |
The civic body was asked for the figures in a Right to Information query filed by activist Anil Galgali. In response, the corporation, which is supposed to take action against illegally occupied buildings, revealed it is unaware of the number of buildings that do not have OC.
A shocked Galgali said: “It is the agency that gives permissions. If the BMC doesn’t know the numbers, then it is really a sorry state of affairs.”
Occupation certificate is an important document; it proves a building’s completion as per the approved plan and in compliance of local laws.
A senior civic official confessed the municipal corporation “does not have compiled data. The country’s premier civic body does not have a system in place to track builders who violate rules and hand over possession to buyers without first procuring the mandatory OC.”
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had last week announced in the state legislative assembly that a special drive will be undertaken to survey buildings in Mumbai that have been handed over to flat buyers without an occupation certificate. He suggested that an amnesty is likely to be given to the residents of such buildings.
According to BMC rules, not possessing an OC implies that the builder has not fulfilled the necessary requirements for the project and the residents in his construction are living there illegally. As a result, the residents have to pay twice the water charges and a higher property tax.
Senior BJP leader Yogesh Sagar suggested: “While giving a commencement certificate, the BMC should take 5% of the project cost as bank guarantee. If the builder takes an OC, the bank guarantee should be returned. But if the developer fails, the bank guarantee should be forfeited. This is better than making innocent residents pay for the fault of officials and the developer.”
Last year, Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar was fined for occupying his multi-storey bungalow at Perry Cross Road in Bandra without first getting an occupation certificate.
For mer IPS of ficerturned-lawyer Y P Singh said, “It is shocking the BMC has no data on the number of buildings without OC. The ward officer and building proposal officials should be held accountable when buildings are occupied without OC. Also, on grounds of criminal negligence by a public servant, the officials can be made to compensate from their pockets.”
An occupation certificate (OC) is a document issued by the municipal body to a builder after the completion of a building to certify that the construction is in compliance of the approved plan and building codes and laws. Its absence implies that the builder has not fulfilled the necessary requirements for the project and the civic body is yet to certify it for occupation
Flat buyers can suffer if the builder of their construction doesn’t procure an occupation certificate
Unsafe Construction |
Many times, builders are denied an OC because they do not follow the norms. The builder, in such cases, can often escape by paying a fine. But the buyers who take early possession are left in a limbo
Eviction | The municipal corporation, if it wants, can evict residents of buildings without an OC
Extra Charges |
Residents of buildings without an OC have to pay twice the water charges and a higher property tax
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan told the state legislative assembly last week that there are nearly 5,000 buildings in Mumbai without OC. He said an amnesty would be extended to the residents of these buildings
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