Bhopal Municipal Corporation issued highest completion certificates to builders

BHOPAL: Bhopal which bagged second position in the swachh ranking in the “Swachh Survekshan-2017 Awards in the country, is now topping the list of civic bodies in the state that helped builders circumvent Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) by issuing completion certificates to incomplete projects.
If the number of completion certificates issued by four major municipal bodies of the state- Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur, before RERA came into existence from May 1, is considered, the number of completion certificates issued to builders in Bhopal is much higher than that by the others.
Sources said around 150 ongoing housing projects in the city were allegedly given completion certificates by the officials of building permission section to keep them out of RERA’s purview. In this way, at least 30,000 under-construction houses, which should have been covered under provisions of RERA Act, were sought to be exempted from RERA.
When the completion certificates issued by other big municipal bodies of the state were verified, it came to light that Gwalior Municipal Corporation issued just one completion certificate between January and April, Indore issued 45 completion certificates while the number of completion certificates issued by Jabalpur municipal corporation is barely in double figures.
RERA sources alleged that in Bhopal even on holidays, the officials issued completion certificates. It all came to light after the RERA came across complaints about a few private housing projects of Bhopal.
Replying to RERA, builders showed the completion certificates and told that their existing projects were completed before the authority came into existence and hence they cannot fall under its ambit. Complainants, on the other hand, presented photographs of the incomplete projects.
When RERA sent two to three such completion certificates to the urban administration department in the month of October and November, the department that heads the municipal corporations across the state, has been sitting on it. Meanwhile, Congress corporator Girish Sharma also raised the issue in previous general council meeting of BMC.
He alleged, “It is a scam to the tune of Rs 300 crore. In past few years, the number of municipal wards in the city grew from 65 to 85. Twenty new villages and areas under Kolar municipality were merged in city limits. When they were not part of BMC, building permission used to be given by panchayat.
They had allowed construction on nazool land, green cover and everywhere. All this needed to be regulated by the BMC besides minor violation of building permission, which is common. The BMC would have earned Rs 300 crore as compounding fee from these projects but the realtors were saved by collusion of civic officials.
When the issue came to the notice at top-level, two officials of the building permission departments were removed. Minister for urban administration Maya Singh said the issue was serious and in keeping with the policy of zero tolerance towards corruption, she has ordered an inquiry into the matter and commissioner, urban administration, Vivek Agrawal will carry out the probe.