Monday, March 28, 2011

The Gujarat Regularisation of Unauthorised Development Bill, 2011

Bill Passed In Assembly To regularised , 25L Unauthorized Urban Structures In State,Five lakh illegal buildings to be regularized in Ahmedabad

Gandhinagar: The Gujarat state assembly on Monday empowered the state government to regularise nearly 25 lakh illegal structures built across the state’s urban areas. “Of these, five lakh will be regularized in Ahmedabad alone,” state urban affairs minister Nitin Patel told the House while introducing the Gujarat Regularisation of Unauthorised Development Bill, 2011. “Validity of the Bill will be for three years,” he added.

Introduced amid stiff opposition from the Congress, the minister told the House that the highest number of concentration of illegal structures is in eastern Ahmedabad. “In our estimate, about 1.50 lakh illegal structures exist in the area which will be regularized on payment of a certain fees, which will be decided by the rules,” the minister said.

Giving details, the minister said, “Most people who have settled in eastern Ahmedabad are from north Gujarat and Saurashtra, and they had no knowledge of the rules when they bought properties in this area. We do not want to punish ordinary people for no fault of theirs.” Patel himself belongs to north Gujarat’s Kadi town and is seen as a strong representative of the powerful Kadva Patel community, which settled in eastern Ahmedabad in large numbers.

Opposing the Bill, state Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia referred to two major flaws in the Bill. “While is seeks to regularize pucca illegal structures, it is completely silent on illegal semi-pucca structures in the slum areas of major Gujarat cities, especially Ahmedabad and Surat.

“Secondly, it is silent on punishing the builders responsible for constructing so many illegal structures,” he said.

Modhwadia wondered why the state government was forced to bring in such a bill for the second time after the first one was introduced and passed in 2001. “It clearly suggests that the state government had little or no intention of bringing to book builders responsible for erecting illegal structures over the last one decade. Otherwise, so many new illegal structures would not come up in the state’s urban areas,” he said, adding, “The state government was forced to come up with the Bill as the Gujarat high court cracked down on illegal structures in Ahmedabad.”

The Bill makes certain exceptions too. In case the structure has a higher floor space index (FSI) than it is permitted in the zone; if it causes danger to health and leads to a health hazard; if it falls within the alignment of infrastructure facilities like water supply, drainage, sewerage, supply of electricity or gas or any other public utility, or is if it is built beyond the plot boundary.

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