Draft rules on zoning regulations violate court orders: activists

Draft rules on zoning regulations violate court orders: activists

'Proposed norms make no distinction between B'luru, small towns'

Draft rules on zoning regulations violate court orders: activists
The state has succumbed to the pressure mounted by corporators as well as traders by framing the draft rules on zonal regulations, feel activists. What the government called a ‘ease of doing business’ will turn almost every street of the city into a commercial zone.

The Karnataka High Court had passed an order in 2014 directing the BBMP to abide by the zoning regulations and remove commercial establishments from residential areas where the width of the road is 40 ft or less. The court order was based on a slew of petitions by residents’ groups, seeking its intervention to check rampant commercial activities in residential areas in violation of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning regulations.

For almost three years, the Palike did not act on the court’s directions. The residents’ groups threatened the Palike authorities that they will file a contempt of court petition against them for not abiding by the court order.

Finally, in December 2016, the BBMP commissioner published advertisements in newspapers asking traders to remove shops and commercial establishments in residential areas. The subsequent crackdown on shops and commercial buildings in residential areas did not go down well with the corporators and the traders. In January, the BBMP council passed a resolution asking the government to amend the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act in order to ‘help traders’ who would be rendered jobless.

The draft rules have elicited a strong reaction from citizens. A WhatsApp message ‘Say goodbye to peaceful residential life in Bengaluru’ was circulated by activists. C N Kumar of First-Block Organisation for a Clean Environment (FORCE) said the government had yielded to the lobbies which want commercial activities in residential areas.

‘Will create urban mess’
“The government has agreed to overturn the zonal regulations we had fought for (in the high court). The draft rule lacks vision and is fundamentally flawed as it uses the same yardstick for Bengaluru and other small towns of the state. With such regulations, we are heading towards an urban mess,” said Kumar.

Opposition BJP leader in the BBMP council Padmanabha Reddy denounced the move, saying the government did not take the elected representatives, residents’ groups and the Metropolitan Planning Committee on board before formulating the draft rules.

“There should be a detailed discussion on the pros and cons of the proposed rule. It cannot be brought in abruptly in a clandestine manner,” said Reddy.

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