Tech hurdle to building a home in Bangalore

Thursday, 9 December 2010 - 8:37am IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA
The automatic building plan approval device is not something that BBMP staff know how to operate. So construction must wait.

Sudhakar K, a resident of Banashankari II Stage, has accumulated funds for the construction of his house. You’d think he was a lucky man, but he’s actually quite worried. He is all ready to build his dream home, but there’s a technological impediment.

Since November 1, 2010, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has declined to manually process building plans for sites measuring up to 40 x 60 square feet. The system has gone online, and the software is called Online Building Plan Approval System (OBPAS).

BBMP staff, however, has still to be trained in dealing with the software. This has led to hiccups in implementation, especially as all the eight zonal offices of the Palike no longer process building plans manually for sites of this size.

Residents like Sudhakar have little reason to think that they will be able to tide over the problems soon. Training BBMP staff is bound to take time. Sources said that from November 1, when manual processing of building plans was stopped, the Palike received about 140 applications for approval. None of these have been taken forward.

The Palike had earlier announced that the OBPAS would ease the whole process of getting building plans approved, as those applying will no longer have to run from pillar to post for sanction.

The whole process could be conducted online. The new system was introduced in all eight zonal offices of the BBMP, and the Palike had claimed that the OBPAS software would automatically verify whether the plan was in accordance with stipulated rules (bye-laws and zonal regulations). The technology was also hailed as one that would wipe out corruption.

Many architects have complaints. “Property owners are at our backs, repeatedly questioning the delay in the approval of building plans. I doubt the new system would be corruption-free. Once the property owner fills in the details online, the print-outs would go to area engineers,” said KR Shridhar, an architect.

BBMP additional director (town planning) Tirukana Gowda said that hiccups are only because the system is  new.  “We are conducting training sessions for staff. We have also submitted a proposal to the BBMP commissioner, suggesting that the manual process of building plan approval continue till January 2011. Once the system becomes familiar, the problems will not be there anymore,” he said.

Meanwhile, the online building approval proposal has been made ‘mandatory’ by the Centre to release grants under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

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