The state government contemplates outsourcing issuance of building permissions after noticing that violations of Master Plan continue, commercial complexes are still being constructed in residential areas and there is no end to construction of unauthorised housing colonies.
A senior Housing and Urban Development Department official said the governor administration strongly believes that corruption and illegal constructions are synonymous.
“It has been felt that to uproot corruption building permissions need to be outsources as that will ensure checks and balances on the implementation of the Master Plan recently approved by the State Administrative Council headed by Governor SP Malik,” the official said.
The Srinagar Metropolitan Report, which is also known as the Master Plan 2035, has already recommended that officers and official should be held accountable for violations.
“The reason for haphazard growth of the city is unaccountability in the system. Otherwise it is not possible that a commercial construction would come up in residential area without the connivance of field staff of SMC and SDA,” the official added.
The Master Plan also has named the lack of individual accountability of planners, engineers and enforcement officers in the SMC, SDA and other Urban Local Bodies as key reason behind building violations.
“The institutions should create systems for not only fast tracking the processes but also shall be prompt in holding the officers and officials accountable for violations and dilatory tactics adopted in dealing with the citizens,” the Plan document reads.
It calls for outsourcing of building permissions, initially residential permits, by registering qualified architects and town planners after building their capacities to handle permissions, eliminating the role of draftsmen in the process.
“Town Planning Organization shall be designated as the nodal agency for assisting the ULBs and Local Authority to set the systems in place initially till the process takes off,” the document reads.
It states the building permission process is so protracted that it becomes an alibi for violations.
The building permission regime needs to be simplified so that planned development is not impeded by the protracted building permission process.
“One of the main reasons for the non-regulation of building activity has been the overwhelming dependence on the human element in the enforcement by the Municipal Corporation and Development Authorities. These institutions need to use the available technologies like the satellite imageries, aerial photographs, GIS software and detection software for planning, building permission and enforcement. Technological intervention will facilitate transparent planning, building permission and the regulation of the building activity in the local area,” the Master Plan reads.
“These institutions should hire professional town planners who shall be supported by proper technological platform for taking the Municipal Corporation and Development Authorities into the 21st Century. The trend of the employment of the architects, engineers and draftsmen in the planning wing of these institutions should be stopped forthwith,” it adds.
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