Public planning to build a home or commercial complex and professional builders in Coimbatore have a harrowing time trying to get the necessary licenses for constructing their homes and claim that they claim that they have to grease the palms of too many people to get their plans approved. The participation of two bodies, the city corporation and the Local Planning Authority (LPA), in approving necessary permissions has resulted in duplication of work and serves only to pay more bribes to government staff, claim members of the Builders Association of India (BAI) in Coimbatore.
“As per the existing law, the Local Planning Authority gives a ‘Planning Permission’ on the building plan presented by the builder and the corporation gives the license for construction of the building for all commercial constructions above 2000 square feet and domestic constructions above 4000 square feet,” said a city-based builder. “Basically, both organizations do the same job and have similar criteria for approval,” he said.
Builders here pointed out that in other cities such as Chennai there was a common body, the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority that was an umbrella organization granting permissions. “We need a similar body for Coimbatore. This two-door policy only results in more bribing,” said another realtor based here. According to him, the present going rate for getting approval without any hazzle is around Rs. 40/-to Rs. 50/- per square feet of built up space.
Dr. Kanagasundaram, a licensed building surveyor pointed out that according to the 73rd and 74th Amendment to the Constitution of India that was notified in 1994, Local Planning Authority was illegal. “It is clearly mentioned in the 73rd and 74th amendment that local planning authorities need to be dismantled. Yet, they have been operating for the last several years adding to the woes of builders and home owners,” he said.
Members of the Building Surveyors Association plan to petition the Madras High Court seeking the dismantling of the LPA to bring in more transparency in the building plan approval process.