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Violation of building bylaws rampant

Swathi Shivanand

Officials claim that 99 per cent of the structures have violated bylaws

Bangalore: Violation of building bylaws, it appears, has become some sort of a rule. Officials at the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) say that almost 99 per cent of the buildings in the city violate bylaws.

The reason, BMP officials say, is the lack of monitoring at the ground level. The poor monitoring could be because the building boom in the city is too much for the engineers to handle. Or, in most cases, building violations take place with assistance from engineers. Violations go unchecked because most officials who work in the engineering department of the BMP are on deputation and not employees of the civic body per se, say sources at the BMP.

What this translates to is that action cannot be taken against nearly 74 engineers in the grade of assistant executive engineers and above out of the 113 staff in the engineering department. These officials are not liable to be punished even though they have to abide by the rules and Acts that the BMP has to follow such as Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act and the Building Bylaws 2003.

Only parent organisations such as the Public Works Department (nearly 61 officers are from the PWD), Karnataka Power Corporation Limited, Town Planning and Karnataka State Finance Corporation can punish the erring officials and not the BMP.

Sources in the BMP engineering department say that some engineers make use of this loophole to get away with the corruption they indulge in. An official preferring anonymity, said there have been several instances where engineers on deputation have been let off despite violating rules.

When violations turn into a controversy, the engineers on deputation sometimes take transfer and move out of the BMP.

The issue had come into public domain earlier when the previous Commissioner K. Jothiramalingam had pleaded helplessness in the BMP Council about taking action against officials when a massive fish-kill occurred at Ulsoor Lake. He had told the corporators who demanded suspension of the officials concerned that the latter were on deputation.

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