From ET Realty
VIJAYAWADA: The civic body’s failure to lay emphasis on the building penalisation scheme (BPS) has seen less than half the number of people responding to it so far. About 1,900 applications were filed with the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) before the third deadline for BPS ended on December 31.
Incidentally, the scheme was extended thrice prior to this date. Now, the urban development department has decided to again give more time to the building owners who would be penalised if they do not comply with the rules by January 31. According to sources, the poor response can be attributed to a lack of awareness. “Although we conducted meetings with the builders‘ associations, set up control rooms and opened a hotline for queries, not many people have applied till date,” a senior official told TOI.
A survey conducted by the town planning wing revealed that nearly 12,000 buildings in the city do not adhere to the regulations. As per unofficial estimates, the figure ranges from 16,000 to 18,000. Around 1,900 applications were received in the last two months of 2015. Since 4,100 building owners had applied for regularisation after the order for BPS was issued in May 2015, the total stands at just over 6,000.
The first deadline for the scheme was July 27 last year but it was extended till October 30. Another extension did not help, so a fourth one has been given. Sources said officials did not accept any applications for a couple of days earlier this week as they did not get the GO. Hence, less than 50 applications were received in the first week of January.
A ruling party corporator, who did not want to be named, said that officials are not promoting the scheme in right earnest. “We estimated at least Rs 30-50 crore revenue through BPS and also made due provision for this in the budget. Less than Rs 8 crore has been generated as revenue as officials are taking it easy,” he rued.
“We were surprised when the counters set up for BPS were closed. The response is already poor and if they don’t take the applications from those who volunteer then how would the scheme work?” wondered P Sambasiva Rao, a businessman from Patamata.
However, officials maintained that the counters are open. “The regularisation process has not begun. Citizens can approach us for queries and submit their applications,” a VMC spokesperson said.
Moreover, plans are afoot to propogate BPS. Officials pointed out that the response to the scheme was lower than expected in the state and Vijayawada is no different.
“We are introspecting and will aggressively push across the message that all the deviations should be regularised,” officials added.