KSPCB for stricter enforcement of building norms

KSPCB for stricter enforcement of building norms

In the past few days, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has stopped collecting guarantee money from realtors and builders. The amount is collected by KSPCB to ensure that the latter did not violate the green norms.

The orders to this effect were issued by KSPCB chairman, Dr Vaman Acharya, 10 days ago. But, the step is definitely not towards boosting construction activities.

Instead of collecting the guarantee money, KSPCB now wants to put pressure on builders and realtors through other means. It wants to resort to stricter legal action against violators of green laws by tightening environmental and building norms.

Speaking with Deccan Herald, Acharya explained that earlier, KSPCB used to collect guarantee amount from builders to ensure they did not violate green norms. After the completion of the building project, KSPCB would inspect the building, the area around it, clear the project and then refund the deposit.

He said, “Over the last few years, we have observed that many builders were not keen on the deposit. This money, in turn, became a burden for us and in a way encouraged corruption among officials. Also, in some cases, the builder would collect the deposit, violate the rules and also failed to undertake post-construction maintenance.

Hence, we decided to do away with the guarantee money. And in its place, KSPCB will issue permits more rigidly, will issue fresh notices and start legal proceedings against the violators. We will also strengthen rules and regulations to ensure that basic norms like, for example, setting up sewage treatment plants, maintenance of the same, which are often ignored, were followed in toto.

Different slabs

The guarantee amount varied depending upon the size and the area involved in the project. The amount is different for commercial and residential projects and it was collected from both government as well as private firms, while forming layouts.

In case of apartments and commercial complexes, the deposit ranged between Rs five lakh and Rs 10 lakh and would even go up to Rs one crore for layouts or township formations.

Citing the example of Banashankri 6th Stage layout developed by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Dr Acharya said, BDA took around 10 years to develop the layout and KSPCB had to bear the burden of the guarantee money till the completion of the project. Same is the case with other builders too. KSPCB is not a revenue authority, he added.

KSPCB has also placed a proposal before the State government to reduce the amount collected in the form of investment rent.

Earlier, it used to collect investment rent for 240 months from the industries while they were being set up. The period was recently reduced to 120 months.

KSPCB now proposes to reduce it to 12 months and even eliminate it, in case of non-polluting industries. In its place, it wants the non-polluting industries to mandatorily plant trees on its premises and also, instal certificated machinery in their units.

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