Bombay High Court's stay order on new constructions leaves BMC in limbo
With stay on new constructions but no official order, the Building Proposal Department was clueless
For 11 days in March, the Building Proposal Department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) wasn’t sure if it was meant to do its job.
Firefighters douse the massive fire at the Deonar dumping ground on February 1
On February 29, the Bombay High Court stayed new construction in the city because the state government and the BMC had failed to comply with the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) rules at the Deonar and Mulund dumping grounds.
However, till Friday March 11, the BMC hadn’t received a letter or order of the copy, leaving it in a state of confusion.
The Building Proposal Department issues an Intent Of Disapproval (IOD) [a letter which says that the proposal has acquired all the requisite permissions] and Commence-ment Certificate (CC) [the letter issued after the IOD] for buildings.
Department officials say they read about the HC order in newspapers. However, in the absence of any official communication, it decided to not issue any letters or certificates.
In this time, they issued IOD/CCs for redevelopment projects but with an undertaking that said that the ‘IOD/CC would stand cancelled, once it’s clear whether the court has stayed new constructions and if it affected the particular project.’ A letter to this effect was issued to the department [copy is available with sunday mid-day].
The letter, signed by all the three executive engineers at the department, reads: “The matter is discussed with higher authorities, when it is opined that in absence of official judgment/orders from High Court, no orders can be given whether to stop issuing IOD/CC or to continue with the existing procedures till receipt of orders. In view of persistent pressure from the developers, that the grant of IOD/CC cannot be stopped, till the order/judgment of the High Court is received, the undersigned have started issuing the IOD/CC of the redevelopment, MHADA, hospital buildings and schools, by obtaining an undertaking.
This is also discussed with higher authorities, which would continue till receipt of any orders/judgment in this regard.”
An architect, working closely with the Building Proposal Department, said, “For the last 11 days, we have been in limbo. The officers kept saying that the order hasn’t reached them and hence they cannot take a decision.”
Deputy Chief Engineer, RS Potdar of the department, said, “Yes, the letter was written, but we received the court order on March 11.” VP Chittore, Chief Engineer, of Building Proposal, said, “As per court orders, new proposals accepted on or after March 1, 2016, cannot get IOD. Redevelopment is permissible.” He didn’t elaborate.