BBMP's bid to backtrack on enforcing zoning rules opposed

Various residents’ groups are up in arms against the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s decision to form a co­mmittee to review its drive against commercial buildings in residential areas.

At a time when the BBMP decided to launch a drive against commercial buildings in residential areas and published advertisements asking owners to remove such buildings on their own, corporators came together setting aside their political differences to thwart the action.

During the council meeting on January 20, corporators took a decision to set up a committee to look into the pros and cons of allowing commercial establishments in residential areas.

They are also planning to write to the government seeking amendment to the zonal regulations that prevent commercial development in residential areas.

BBMP Taxation and Finance Committee chairperson M K Gunashekar told DH, “The council has taken a decision to write to the government to amend the zonal regulations. The government will take a call on that. If the government acts on our plea, then action will not be taken. Else, the High Court order will hold good.”

The crackdown was initiated based on a petition by citizens’ group to implement the High Court order in 2012 banning any commercial development in residential areas. Various residents’ welfare associations petitioned Mayor G Padmavathi on February 6 asking her not to constitute a committee.

Sneha Nandihal, president of BM Kaval Residents’ Welfare Association said that the implementation of this law has been pending since 2012. ``Four years after the HC order, there seems to be an attempt to subvert it. BBMP needs to begin enforcement on a war footing,” she said, adding that even neighbourhood conveniences should not be allowed in residential areas with road width of 40 feet and less.

C N Kumar from Jayanagar pointed out how the Revised Master Plan 2015 demarcates residential and commercial areas. ``Certain commercial activities that are in the nature of neighbourhood conveniences are permitted in appropriate residential areas but commercial buildings will not be allowed.’’ Sridhar Pabbisetty of Namma Bengaluru Foundation said the BBMP is bound to implement the order.

“Forming a committee itself is contempt of court. It should be disbanded if it has been constituted. Nobody can say that the High Court order cannot be obeyed,” said Pabbisetty.

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