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Bihar Apartment Ownership Bill passed: another step in urban reform!

Bihar Apartment Ownership Bill passed: another step in urban reform!

 

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Patna: the Bihar assembly yesterday passed by voice vote the Bihar Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Bill, 2011 presented by Urban Development minister Prem Kumar in the House. The House passed the bill after Speaker U N Choudhary rejected a proposal moved by opposition RJD MLAs Ram Lakshan Ram and Akhtarul Imam who had sought to refer the bill to a committee of the House for the consideration.

Aiming to regulate the proper construction of apartments in Patna and to protect the interests of the owners, the highlights of the bill are as follows:

  1. The amendment bill provides for a penalty up to Rs 2 lakh if a builder/developer does not follow the approved map in constructing a building.
  2. The bill gives the urban development department the power to stop an illegal construction and imprison the erring builder.
  3. The bill makes it mandatory for the builders to register themselves with the urban development department.
  4. The builders/developers are required to allot the flat within the agreed/promised timeframe. If they fail to do so, punitive action can be initiated against them.
  5. The flat owners should compulsorily have a co-operative society registered with the government so that they can be made to pay the taxes against public services and amenities. The societies are expected to provide the services promised and may face inquiry and action on non-delivery.

Indicating the immediate context for the bill, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said ‘We are flooded with complaints about builders delaying the allotment of flats and constructing structures in utter disregard to the maps passed or other rules guiding the construction.’ The fact however is, the government has now begun taking a number of measures without which its plans for urban reform will not make much headway.

The leader of Opposition Abdul Bari Siddiqui however had a different take on the move. According to him, the new amendment had no meaning as the government had failed to properly implement the Apartment Ownership Act, 2006. “Highrises are coming up in Patna in particular and other cities in general in disregard of the rules. The builders have made high-rise apartments even in three katha (around 4,000sqft) plots despite the government invoking the Apartment Ownership Act, 2006,” Siddiqui said.

 

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