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35% of buildings surveyed in Gujarat are illegal

After a three-month sample survey of 8,320 buildings – residential, commercial, highrises, and special category buildings such as hospitals – across municipal corporations and nagarpalikas, the urban development department has concluded that almost 35% of the surveyed structures are without building-use (BU) permissions. The reasons include the addition of floors, the change of use of buildings, and jurisdictional issues.

If penalty measures were to be executed for buildings without the BU nod, then it would lead to extensive demolitions. In its recommendations to the state government, the urban development department has said that an ordinance can be brought out with certain “conditions” for property owners to surmount this legal hurdle.

“The suggestion will be submitted to the high court before the department officially pursues it. The goal is minimum damage,” said a senior official in the urban development department.

The survey had begun in January and 1,050 buildings in Ahmedabad, 1,000 in Surat, 750 in Rajkot, and 800 in Vadodara were surveyed for BU permissions. Some key features that were examined included the zone in which a property was located, the width of the road in front of the property, whether the land belongs to private individuals or has been allotted by the state, and the status of fire-safety compliance. Also considered were factors such as whether there is a change of use of a building, whether the building is a health hazard, and the status of civic utilities.

In Ahmedabad, 32% of the 1,050 buildings surveyed did not have BU permissions. In all, 2,160 buildings were surveyed within nagarpalika limits, 5,600 within the eight municipal corporations, and about 560 under the urban development authority limits.

“There were instances where AUDA in Ahmedabad was charging unauthorized development fee but was not giving BU permissions. Several of these buildings now have extra floors for which there is no BU nod,” said a senior AMC official. There is also the issue of the implementation of the provisions of a central law, the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010.


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