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Govt may amend laws to prevent broken homes from shrinking Friday, September 28, 2001
Courtsey : Times News Network
AHMEDABAD: Dhiren Bhatt and his eight neighbours in the now-collapsed Parth Apartment in Gulbai Tekra had three-bedroom flats, each measuring 133 square yard. When Parth residents presented their reconstruction plans they were told that the legally the plan would have to be restricted to 55 square yard flats.
The residents of Parth are among the scores of residents of buildings that collapsed in the January 26 earthquake who are now finding that reconstruction would mean living in much smaller homes. The collapsed buildings had illegal extensions which are not being allowed under the new stricter rules imposed after the earthquake.
Think-tank of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is hard at work these days. The corporation's administrators are going through the grind trying to stop broken city homes from shrinking in the post-quake reconstruction scenario.
No less than 69 complaints are with the AMC that speak of irregularities practised by builders and developers. In some cases the FSI has been increased or that extra storey has come up on a low-rise or a pent-house added to a 10-storeyed high-rise. While in others the cantilever portion of a building has been extended illegally for more space without column or beam support and without AMC's permission.
Though the civic body's recommendations, which have been called for by the state government to resolve these cases, will differ on a case-to-case basis, the civic authorities have decided to suggest that minor illegalities be allowed to remain when broken homes are reconstructed.
Till Thursday, corporation authorities were busy holding discussions with individual house owners and discussing the pros and cons on reconstruction of their broken homes keeping the stringent General Development Control Regulations (GDCR) in mind.
"We spoke to the builder-developer community at the outset but dialogues with owners are proving to be fruitful as the latter is prepared to adjust. And, the corporation too is ready to take that extra step towards a humane reconciliation. Since other building illegalities are being regularised through levy of Impact Fee, it is only just that a suitable solution be there for those whose homes were destroyed by the earthquake," said a senior official in AMC.
So, that extra elbow room that you had in your dream home may still be there when the new house comes up but fate of that penthouse or that illegal storey or commercial establishments in place of parking lots may be doomed.
Residents of Shitalbaug Apartment in Paldi, which collapsed killing seven residents, had to actually buy out some residents to get more space. The flat was built at a time when FSI ceiling was 1.1 but the builder somehow managed an FSI of 2. Sanctioned for 96 square metres, on completion the building covered 120 square metres. Shitalbaug had 16 flats but the new GDCR allows only 11. "So we paid back Rs 5.25 lakh to each of the remaining five families. Now we are faced with reconstruction cost of Rs 4,500 per square yard," lamented a Shitalbaug resident.
The state minister for urban development, Parmanand Khattar told TNN that Section 29 (2) of the Town Planning Act empowers the state government to set aside certain rules of the GDCR in special circumstances. Of the 69 collapsed-building cases in Ahmedabad, studies and recommendations on 46 have reached the urban development department from the municipal commissioner's office. Violations of building bylaws and deviations in FSI and original plans are being considered.
"A suitable, humane solution to this impasse will soon be evolved so that reconstruction of the crumbled multi-storeys, with as little changes to its original structure as possible, can start," the minister said.
News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]