BENGALURU: Ravishankar (name changed) and his wife were on top of the world when they recently started living in their newly purchased apartment. A 2-BHK house for Rs 45 lakh sounded like a good deal, for which they obtained a bank loan too, all facilitated by the builder. But their happiness was short-lived.
“We were told there were some violations in building norms and getting an Occupancy Certificate would be tough. While the original plan said there were three houses in three floors, the building had 15 houses and two additional floors,” said techie Ravishankar who owns a flat in Ramanjaneya Nagar, Uttarahalli in the southern end of the city.
They are thousands like him who have resorted to affordable housing and are now left in the lurch. It’s rampant especially on the outskirts. You can buy a 2BHK flat for Rs 45-Rs 60 lakh, which is 20-30 percent cheaper compared to flats sold by big builders. But the buyer has to compromise on essential documents like Occupancy Certificate (OC) and Completion Certificate (CC) issued by the BBMP.
Such a price is possible because the builder constructs floors over and above the approved plan. For blatant violation of the rule book, BBMP will not issue the OC. Shockingly, that’s not a deterrent for water supply or electricity connection as Bescom and BWSSB provide them.
Buyers recall how they paid Rs 1 lakh each for parking, water supply and power connection. “The builder made us to pay more as everything was illegally organised. We’re probably the only apartment complex on our lane to get Cauvery water supply while all other houses depend on borewell water,” he told TOI.
Despite the risks, many buy such properties as builders play the regularisation card. “Once Akrama-Sakrama rolls out, you can get it regularized by paying the penalty and obtain the OC,” they say.
BDA (engineering) member P N Nayak told media: “Once BDA hands over a layout to BBMP, we have no control over it. For the houses in our layouts where the plan is approved by the BDA, there are no violations Public should not assume that Akrama-Sakrama will regularize all violations.” He added that Bescom and BWSSB should not supply power and water to such illegal constructions. “Without occupancy certificate if they supply water and power, and if something goes wrong, every agency will be in trouble. That can’t be done,” he added.
BWSSB and Bescom claim that OC is not a requirement for supplying water and power. When contacted, engineer-in-chief of BWSSB Kempa Ramaiah said BWSSB will ask for the OC only if the building is a high-rise. “Submitting OC is mandatory only for high-rise buildings. If the applicant fails to submit it, we reject the application,” he said.
Ditto with Bescom. “As per the rule book, we can give power supply to buildings if the owner submits any one of the documents like sale deed, tax paid receipt, khata, encumbrance certificate. Occupancy Certificate is not mandatory as per the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission,” said Jayanthi M, general manager, customer relations, Bescom.
Check for OC: BBMP
A senior officer of the BBMP town planning wing said: “Akrama- Sakrama is a policy decision and it’s in court. When the town planning department issues occupancy certificate to a high-rise building, we publish it on the BBMP website. Who buys a property in Bengaluru must make check if the building has an Occupancy Certificate. We have no control over zonal engineers to check whether they inspect the buildings for violations. We act upon complaints if public bring any such issues to us.”
“When you buy such properties, the builders connect the buyer with a local bank with which they have connections. No nationalized banks take such cases. But we get loans from smaller banks. Only when bank officials go through documents thoroughly, we realise the problems. A legal consultation also helps confirm if the documents are valid, but not everyone does it,” said another buyer, who realized the issues only after a bank brought them to his notice.
Credits ET Realty