Will Bihar be the preferred real estate destination ever?

The real estate in Bihar has lately given some hope of resurgence. People are becoming more aware of their rights (the latest demonstration was their use of voting powers to call for a change of power) and wants to be a part of the developmental boom as in the rest of India. An 'Investment commision' has been formed which will look into facilitating Bihar's development and to promoting it as an investment destination'.

The state is under a process of image building for an investor-friendly state. It promises certain advantages over already developed states in terms of cheap real estate prices, limited labour-related issues and a large educated manpower at nearly one-third the cost compared to Tier I and II cities. However, Bihar is still to go miles before it does some significant improvement in infrastructure, socio-economic backwardness, and law and order.

Will the interests shown by so many of biggies like Tata Group, MaxHealthCare and ICICI translate into actual investment in Bihar?
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  • Groundwater in 18 districts contaminated

    PATNA: The problem of groundwater contamination in 18 out of the 38 districts has reached alarming proportions since arsenic in groundwater was first reported in June 2002 in Semaria Ojha Patti village under Shahpur police station area in Bhojpur district.

    Groundwater experts say that test of soil sediments in the plains of the Ganga has revealed presence of arsenic in high concentration. This arsenic continuously seeps into the aquifers, contaminating the groundwater. Testing of groundwater in all these districts reveals concentrations of arsenic that is way above the maximum limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb) as recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO).

    Water and environment management head of A N College, Patna, A K Ghosh, who has tested water samples of more than 36,000 hand pumps and tube wells used both for drinking and irrigational purposes and found 30% of them having higher concentration of arsenic, says the maximum concentration of arsenic has been observed at Pandey Tola, Bhojpur (1861 ppb), Maner, Patna (724 ppb), Bhagalpur (608 ppb) and Bidupur, Vaishali (360 ppb).

    The districts affected by arsenic poisoning include Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Bhojpur, Buxar, Darbhanga, Katihar, Khagaria, Lakhisarai, Munger, Patna, Samastipur, Saran, Vaishali, Supaul, West Champaran, Kishanganj, Purnia and Madhubani. Though the groundwater in Patna town is still free of arsenic, contamination has been detected in its suburbs like Danapur in the west and Fatuha in the east.

    Ghosh says that arsenic has not only contaminated the groundwater but has also entered into the food chain. Recent test of samples of rice, maize and sugarcane collected from Bhagalpur and Bhojpur districts has revealed higher concentration of arsenic. While the rice of Bhojpur region showed the presence of 36 micrograms/gram arsenic, the sugarcane juice of Bhagalpur was found having 22 ppb of arsenic. This is, indeed, a very dangerous symptom, he added.

    The Central Ground Water Board scientists say that people who have been consuming arsenic contaminated water for the last several years are now suffering from various skin ailments, including cancer. Though the government has, of late, initiated some steps for mitigating the arsenic problem by installing filters at community level, they are not being properly maintained. Such filters stop working after some time as they are not regularly cleaned. Moreover, the sludge generated by these filters is not disposed of properly, enhancing the dangers of groundwater contamination.

    The state government has also started supplying Ganga water (after treatment) to the residents of Bhojpur district. Water of the Ganga, surprisingly, does not contain arsenic above the desired level. Such system of fresh water supply from the river is also being implemented in Vaishali and Buxar, they say.

    ​Groundwater in 18 districts contaminated - The Times of India
  • ‘Metro rail feasible along Ganga, Bailey Road’

    PATNA: Some technical experts of railways have welcomed the move of the state government to introduce metro or mono rail services in the city to cater to the needs of common people.

    They even suggested the best possible routes for metro along the Ganga between Danapur and Fatuha, a distance of about 30km or all along the Bailey Road, from Gandhi Maidan to Dak Bungalow and then Dak Bungalow to Saguna Mor and Kurji Mor via Boring Road.

    According to them, underground (tunnel) metro in Patna is not feasible keeping in view the geography of the city. However, it is feasible in Patna on these routes on the pattern of Delhi, they said, adding this ambitious project will cost the government about Rs 300 to Rs 400 crore for 30km stretch.

    Though the cost of metro rail on surface is likely to be about Rs10 crore to Rs 12 crore per km, the underground metro will cost about Rs 200 to Rs 250 crore per km as specially-designed imported airconditioned compressed coaches would be required.

    Thus, it will be better if both the railways and the state government make a joint venture to turn this dream project into a reality for Patnaites, they added. Former chief engineer of railways, G N Sahay, sounds optimistic about the feasibility of metro or mono rail on the Ganga corridor or Bailey Road.

    He, however, says that the state government must find an alternative mode of communication on the busiest Ashok Rajpath where Patna University, Patna Medical College and Hospital, civil court, private nursing homes and several other important institutions are located.

    While metro on the surface is not feasible on this road, the government could think of providing metro rail services all along the bank of Ganga, he said. Sahay admitted that the concept of metro rail has changed a lot at global level.

    ‘Metro rail feasible along Ganga, Bailey Road’ - The Times of India
  • Why Taj Mahals not coming up now: CM

    PATNA: Why structures like Taj Mahal are not coming up these days?" asked chief minister Nitish Kumar while suggesting to building engineers to construct strong, stunningly attractive and earthquake-resistant buildings.

    Kumar was addressing the inaugural assembly of the midterm session of Indian Building Congress at S K Memorial Hall in the city on Friday. Over 500 building engineers, architects and realtors from across the country are attending the three-day meet, the first in Bihar.

    "The government's signature buildings should be strong and stunningly attractive. Have you ever thought why Taj Mahal is still worth watching? The government's major structures should be beautiful enough to make people look at them and get photographed in front of the building," Kumar, himself an engineer, said amid applause.

    He also emphasized that all buildings, government or private, should be earthquake resistant. "When an earthquake hit Bhuj in Gujarat, I was the Union agriculture minister and the disaster management department was then a part of the agriculture ministry. At that time, experts told me if a quake of similar intensity hit Patna, the toll will be around 5 lakh. Since then I have been advocating for quake-resistant buildings in Bihar," Kumar said and added as the chief minister, he had been ensuring that all major buildings of the government were quake resistant.

    The CM also said India should learn from Japan how to minimize damages in case of quakes. "Now, quakes hit Japan frequently, but damages are nominal because that country has quake-resistant structures," he said.

    Earlier, deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi asked the building engineers to construct government's major structures in such a way that they should be known as 'signature buildings' of the city. Referring to the Parliament building and India Gate, Modi asked why such 'signature buildings' were not being constructed these days.

    Modi, also the commercial taxes minister, told the engineers Bihar recorded 219% and 237% growth in collection of taxes on the sale of cement and iron bar respectively in 2012-13 compared to 2008-09. "It shows massive growth of building sector in Bihar," he said.

    Why Taj Mahals not coming up now: CM - The Times of India
  • HC orders park in Anisabad colony

    PATNA: A single bench of the Patna high court presided by Justice Shailesh Kumar Sinha on Friday directed the urban development department to construct a park at Police Colony in Anisabad area of the state capital within four months.

    The order was passed during hearing of a writ petition of Dayashankar Singh and others who submitted that in 2010, the state urban development department had sanctioned Rs 70 lakh to the Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (BUIDCO) for development/construction of park on a 68-kattha park plot in the Police Colony, but the park was not built.

    BUIDCO submitted in an affidavit that a tender was floated in 2010 for development of the park but only one bid was received, as a result of which the tender was not awarded. This year, a new tender was floated, which was awarded to M K Construction.

    Order to chief secretary: The high court on Friday directed the chief secretary to inquire into running of a hot mix plant, which is causing pollution, near Motihari railway station in East Champaran district despite the court's order restraining the road construction department from operating the plant without clearance of the Bihar State Pollution Control Board.

    A division bench comprising Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Shivaji Pandey also directed the chief secretary to file the inquiry report before the court. The court passed the order on a PIL of Vijay Chaudhary.

    HC orders park in Anisabad colony - The Times of India
  • HC bans highrises on narrow roads

    PATNA: Taking serious note of the flawed urban landscape, the Patna high court on Friday directed the state government and Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) to stop construction of more than 11-metre-high multistorey buildings on less than 20-feet-wide roads and 15-metre-high buildings on less than 40-feet-wide roads under the Patna municipal area.

    A division bench comprising Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Shivaji Pandey also expressed its displeasure over the commercial use of residential buildings. The judges said the principal secretary (urban development department), PMC commissioner and Patna DM would be answerable for any non-compliance with the court order.

    The order was passed on a PIL filed by Narendra Mishra, challenging the PMC authorities concerned who allowed construction of a 16.4-metre-high multistorey building on the 11-feet-wide Raiji Ki Gali in East Boring Canal Road locality of the state capital.

    The court passed a general order on the PIL for future construction of any multistorey building and pulled up the PMC authorities for allowing uncontrolled construction of such buildings in Patna town. "This would cause many civic problems," the judges said and asked the PMC how the architects were allowed to design plans for the multistorey buildings having height more than the prescribed norms.

    Restraining any such construction in future, the division bench also sought details of the PMC hierarchy so that the court could fix the responsibilities of its staff and engineers for any error committed by them.

    Petitioner's counsel Suresh Prasad Singh submitted that the authorities and engineers of the PMC had flouted the norms and the builder concerned even encroached a part of the adjacent space which falls under the Master Plan of Patna for construction of a 60-feet-wide road.

    The court stayed further construction of the aforesaid multistorey building at Raiji ki Gali here.

    HC bans highrises on narrow roads - The Times of India
  • Cabinet OKs draft rules for illegal religious structures

    PATNA: The state cabinet on Thursday approved the draft proposal of 'Bihar Unauthorized Religious Structure and Constructing Survey and Its Regularization, Relocation and Removal Rules, 2013' suggesting that unauthorized religious structures obstructing roads and public places may be demolished. But any such illegal religious structure more than 30 years old would not be demolished, it clarified.

    The rules have been drafted in the light of the Supreme Court directive that all illegal structures, including places of worship, should be demolished. The Centre and states recently reached a consensus that no place of worship would be constructed in public spaces.

    Briefing newsmen, cabinet secretariat department secretary Brajesh Mehrotra said the government would conduct state-level survey of such illegal religious structures. He also said the government would act cautiously while dealing with religious structures obstructing roads and public places. It would ask the district administration concerned to take appropriate steps on case basis.

    If need be, such structure can be relocated with the cooperation of the local residents. In case of tension, the matter would be settled through the intervention of the district administration concerned. If it is not possible, the administration would refer it to the state home department, he said.

    The cabinet also approved Rs400 crore for the construction of a state-of-art 'Bihar museum' on Bailey Road. The state government has signed an MoU with the Lords Cultural Resources as a master plan consultant for its design, content coordination and project implementation, Mehrotra said.

    The cabinet also approved Rs992 crore to be spent in five years for the establishment of an agriculture college, horticulture research centre and an integrated unit of agriculture livestock, fisheries and advanced centre on sericulture at Kishanganj. For the infrastructure development, the cabinet gave its nod to additional Rs562.50 crore to be spent from 2013-14 to 2016-17 financial year.

    Cabinet OKs draft rules for illegal religious structures - The Times of India
  • Industrial corridor covering Bihar gets Prime Minister's go-ahead

    PATNA: There is some good news for Bihar. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday approved the commencement of preparatory work on Amritsar-Delhi-Kolkata Industrial Corridor (ADKIC), which will cover Bihar, among other states.

    The ADKIC will cover the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. This is one of the most densely populated regions in the world and houses about 40% of India's population. According to a government press release, this is a region which needs a major push for industrialization and job creation, and the ADKIC will act as a catalyst for this growth. The corridor will cover the cities of Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Ambala, Saharanpur, Delhi, Roorkee, Moradabad, Bareilly, Aligarh, Kanpur, Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Hazaribag, Dhanbad, Asansol, Durgapur and Kolkata.

    To start the preparatory work for this industrial corridor, Prime Minister has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) which includes secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), and chairman, Railway Board. The IMG will examine the feasibility of setting up the ADKIC along with the structural and financing arrangements that would be required to operationalize it at the earliest. The IMG will give its report within a month.

    The PM's approval, says the government release, has been given to give a boost to industrial development in the densely-populated states of northern India. The ADKIC, which is patterned on the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) which uses the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor as the backbone, will make use of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor as the backbone.

    The Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor extends from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni near Kolkata. Therefore, the ADKIC will be structured around the Eastern DFC. It will also leverage the Inland Waterway System being developed along National Waterway 1, which extends from Allahabad to Haldia.

    Industrial corridor covering Bihar gets Prime Minister's go-ahead - The Times of India
  • BJP-JD(U) split hits sentiment in realty sector in Bihar

    PATNA: The Sunday split in NDA hit the market sentiments, particularly in the real estate sector. But, the prices of available unoccupied flats in multistoreyed apartments in Patna and other cities are not expected to plummet.

    As of now, the building construction sector in Bihar has adopted a 'wait and watch' stance, reconciled as they are with the investment they have made so far. The pressure on them is to find the need-based buyers to sell the unoccupied flats. It is because the brute majority CM Nitish Kumar enjoyed as the NDA government would only have a wafer thin majority. Private investment in the realty sector is unlikely to get reactivated before the 2014 parliamentary elections.

    The market fears that the new government would be subject to various pulls and pressures and populism, which would act as constraints on CM in taking bold decisions. Incidentally, their 'faith in Nitish's skill and his capability to steer the government and also manoeuvre it of arresting situations' was still intact.

    "The change to a new government having very thin majority in the House has adversely affected the market sentiments in the realty sector. Investment in all other sectors, including industry, would be hit in general, but the realty sector is the first to experience it. The scope of long-term investment has been affected. Both the local and outside investors would now wait," said Narendra Kumar, director of a building construction company and president of Bihar chapter of Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association (CREDA).

    Similar was the sentiment in the industry circles. "The economy of the state would be affected, as any new investment would not be forthcoming. I have been in touch with prospective investors based in Mumbai and elsewhere for the last four days. The outsiders have adopted wait and watch policy. We hope law and order situation does not deteriorate," said Bihar Industries Association (BIA) president K P S Keshri.

    Keshri also said that the realty sector would be hit the most, but construction business dependent on public investment in roads, buildings, bridges and housing board's new plan to build thousands of housing facility would continue to sustain.

    "The Centre's new taxation policy, in force from June 1, has affected realty sector in the country. But in Bihar, the 'circle rate' or minimum value rate (MVR) of urban land has been increasing for the last six years. It has increased property price. But Bihar has need-based buyers. The prices, therefore, will not fall," Keshri added.

    BJP-JD(U) split hits sentiment in realty sector in Bihar - The Economic Times
  • Bihar govt to develop infra projects

    PATNA: The state capital is all set to get a facelift with several signature buildings coming up in the next couple of years.

    With a plan size of over Rs 78 crore for the financial year 2013-14, the state building construction department (BCD) is set to develop infrastructure projects including Bihar Museum, International Convention Centre and MLA/MLC flats, expansion of secretariat, police headquarters building and employment exchange among others.

    At a press conference addressed by BCD principal secretary Chanchal Kumar, upcoming projects of the department were outlined as well as the work completed last year was highlighted by the officials. "Despite shortage of engineers, we have been able to do more work than earlier and nearly 93% of the annual plan size was spent last year," said Kumar.

    According to Kumar, "While construction of new buildings is easy, demolishing old ones and relocating their inhabitants till the time a new building is built is very difficult. Much of our logistics goes into that."

    In fact, the department is now paying attention to landscaping, a feature absent in many of its earlier constructions. "Landscaping is an integral part of our new designs and we are also planning to add it to the old buildings," said Kumar, adding, "BCD will take construction work of other departments, only if the land allotment is clear."

    With the e-awaas yojana, the details of officials who occupy the flats or are in waitlist would be available online, making the system transparent, claimed Kumar, adding, "A new maintenance policy that would have a standard operating protocol to regularly check buildings in also underway."

    In connection with the works of Bihar State Building Construction Corporation Limited (BSBCCL), Kumar said, "Now that BSBCCL is showing net profit in the balance sheets, we plan to do several charitable works under corporate social responsibility with the profits."

    Bihar govt to develop infra projects - The Times of India
  • Firing over land, cops look the other way - on camera

    PATNA: If antisocial elements are trying to terrorize you to dispossess you of your property, whom do you turn to for protection? To police? But what if the police turn a blind eye to the machinations of antisocial elements?

    This is the predicament of Sapna, a Delhi-based teacher, who is cut up with the alleged inaction of Digha police in such a case. On Thursday, she reached the office of Patna SSP with her complaint and video recording of police inaction on her I-pad and CD, but did not return fully reassured even though the city's top cop, taking a cautious line, said the SHO would be taken to task if the complaint was found true. "As it is a case of property dispute, we have to verify the details with the help of SDO concerned," he said.

    According to Sapna's complaint, one Ramji Rai and his 40-50 associates are repeatedly threatening her father, Suresh Prasad Singh, to leave his house and plot of land located at XITT Road under Digha police station. "They fired several rounds in air on Sunday, June 23, but the Digha police did not take any action against them," she alleged.

    "The firing incident took place on June 23 and we informed the Digha PS. The police came while the firing was going on, but did not take any action. When I contacted the SHO later, he was abusive," she alleged.

    The visuals in her I-pad clearly showed that a police jeep reached the place when the firing was going on. But the policemen immediately left the place. "My husband is a doctor with AIIMS, Delhi, and my father is working as a TTE posted in Muzaffarpur. Even if it is a case of property dispute, the SHO should have responded to the firing incident," said Sapna.

    Firing over land, cops look the other way - on camera - The Times of India
  • Patna Municipal Corporation disowns onus for building collapse

    PATNA: PMC executive engineer Lalan Singh has claimed that the civic body was not responsible for the collapse of a building by the side of a site on which a mall is coming up at PC Colony under Kankarbagh police station.

    On Wednesday, a three-storied building on plot no. A 30, adjoining the site of the erstwhile Tewary Bechar petrol pump, collapsed following heavy rainfall. Two other buildings on plot nos A 29 and A 31 have developed cracks.

    However, Singh said on Thursday, "PMC architects approved the design of the mall. But we are not responsible for the collapse of the adjoining house. The building was not in a dilapidated condition."

    Incidentally, the A 30 building was vacated by its owners on June 10. Gunjan Devi, owner of the collapsed house, said, "As soon as we noticed cracks on the wall of our rooms on the northern part of the house, we contacted the builder of the under construction mall. The builder has construction approval of the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC). But their underground construction has weakened the soil strength in the surrounding areas. Our lawyer is in touch with him (the builder) regarding compensation."

    Gunjan had put on rent four flats of the building which she had to evacuate before leaving the house. Now, they are living in a rented flat in the same locality. "The earnings from tenants was our main source of income," she said.

    Sanjay Tiwari, owner of the house number A 29, said, "We have been living here since 1988. We lodged complaints with the officials of district administration, PMC and Patna Senior SP after the buildings started developing cracks. My tenants had left the building fearing mishap. My building tilted towards north and could collapse any time. We are living in two rooms in the southern part of the house."

    The owners of the three houses are in touch with the builder of the mall through their lawyers. "The builder has promised us compensation, though we are yet to make proper agreement. We have been informed that the builder is currently in Delhi and the formal agreement will be made on his return. However, no official concerned has contacted us after the incident," said Gunjan.

    Patna Municipal Corporation disowns onus for building collapse - The Times of India
  • Bihar gets $300m Asian Development Bank loan to upgrade highways

    PATNA: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Centre signed an agreement in New Delhi on Monday for US $300 million additional loan to upgrade 254 kilometres of deteriorated highways in northern and southern Bihar.

    The additional financing for the ongoing Bihar State Highways-II Project will widen the sections of existing four highways to two lanes, build and maintain bridges and repair the pavements. It will optimize access to the state highway network for the beneficiaries living in remote villages.

    The loan agreement was signed by Nilaya Mitash, joint secretary (multilateral institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Centre, and Narhari Rao, deputy country director for India, on behalf of ADB. The project agreement was signed by Sunil Barthwal, resident commissioner of Bihar and Ranjit Kumar Mishra, DGM (tech), Bihar State Road Development Corporation Ltd.

    "Better roads built under the project will help more people access social and health services as well as production centres and markets and, therefore, will promote better life and inclusive growth for the people of Bihar," Mitash said.

    "This project will also use a $1 million grant to prepare a 20-year road master plan for Bihar state," said Rao. "It will help the national and state governments achieve their vision of improving the lives of people by providing an efficient transport system," he said.

    The ADB has supported Bihar's State Highway Development Programme through assistance to Bihar State Highways Project-I ($420 million, closed in July, 2012) followed by Project-II ($300 million, signed in December, 2010). Together, the projects are reconstructing 1,209km of state highways.

    "The project will also focus on improving the road design that will help address the problem of floods. To offset carbon emissions, 10 saplings will be planted for every tree cut for widening of roads. Solar panels will be used at construction sites to reduce carbon emissions. Those living near the roads will also receive road safety training. Women will be actively involved in the programme," a state government official said on Tuesday.

    Bihar gets $300m Asian Development Bank loan to upgrade highways - The Times of India
  • Dons are new lords of real estate ring

    PATNA: Criminals, or the so-called 'dabangs' (strongmen), joining politics is passe. Now, they are the lords of the real estate ring, playing a big role in the booming construction business, particularly in and around Patna.

    The alleged crime lords of Patna, whether in jail or roaming in the city, are the 'Big Daddies' who fix the property rates. The old houses in Patna are rapidly being replaced by luxurious apartments. But, according to police sources, the deals are finalized by the alleged criminals.

    "Of late, people accused in several criminal cases, including murder cases, are dealing in property in Patna. Police cannot intervene in property-related cases. So, it has become an easier profession for them," said a top cop wishing anonymity.

    Patna SSP Manu Maharaaj said, "In some recent murder cases, the deceased were somehow involved in property dealing and got murdered by their rivals. We found both the deceased and the accused were rivals in real estate business. It has become a new trend in Patna."

    The same goes with the recent cases of extortion calls. "Criminals like Ritlal Yadav, Bindu Singh and Pankaj Singh, who are in jail, are operating from there. They decide every details of the negotiation and the group members execute the deals," said a cop.

    "None of the accused criminals himself appears while clinching a deal. They target persons who genuinely own a land but are weak in paperwork. They take over the issue and compensate the owner with a reasonable amount. They do it on behalf of some builders in return of some big amount. It's a kind of joint venture between the builders and criminals," said sources.

    Jitendra Yadav, who lodged a case of extortion of Rs1 crore against Ajay Verma, lodged in Beur jail, shared the same view. "I purchased a land in Bahadurpur area which Verma claimed was owned by him. So, he forced me to vacate the land or pay Rs 1 crore to him," said Jitendra.

    At least 50 property-related cases are lodged with the police every month. The land rates in Bahadurpur, Alamganj, Gai Ghat, Pahari, Saguna Mor, Danapur, Fatuha, Bihta and some parts of Bailey Road have increased considerably.

    Dons are new lords of real estate ring - The Times of India
  • Patna Municipal Corporation warns builders against skipping hearing

    PATNA: Patna municipal commissioner Kuldip Narayan on Wednesday warned the builders skipping vigilance case hearing against them to take strict legal action if they did not appear on the next date, which is December 7. There are cases against 141 buildings across the New Capital circle, Bankipore circle and Kankerbagh circle for violating building bylaws.

    More than 50% of the builders facing vigilance cases filed with Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) commissioner for violating building bylaws, failed to turn up for hearing on Wednesday at PMC office. Earlier, around 40% of the builders were absent during the hearing on November 16. Due to Muharram, it was rescheduled for November 20. On Wednesday, 41 builders out of 81 were absent without prior notice. Altogether 40 cases were heard.

    "I have sent an official letter to the GM, Patna Electric Supply Undertaking (PESU), requesting him to disconnect the electricity supply, permanent or temporary, to the buildings facing PMC vigilance cases. Many builders are avoiding the hearing. If they continue abstaining or fail to reply to the show cause on the next date, we will publish their names in the newspapers and also paste notices on their under-construction buildings," said Narayan. "Strict legal action will be taken against those who avoid responding to PMC's notice," he added.

    Many of the builders who have violated building bylaws despite getting PMC notices to stop construction are illegally continuing with the process. Narayan said, "Under section 323 and 327 of Bihar Municipal Act (BMA), continuing with the construction of any building against which vigilance case is on or giving the flats for occupancy without occupancy certificate, is illegal."

    "PMC executive officers and concerned SHOs have been asked to keep an eye on such constructions despite PMC notice to stop it, in their areas. The BMA authorizes the PMC officials to lodge an FIR against such builders," he said.

    Suggesting the people who are either planning to buy or taking a flat on rent, the PMC commissioner said, "Crosscheck the building map, land ownership papers and whether any vigilance case is lodged against the building or not. For public convenience, we have uploaded on PMC website Welcome to Patna Nagar Nigam,Patna Municipal Corporation the details of all the buildings against which vigilance case is lodged, along with engineer's and vigilance reports," he concluded.

  • Bihar RTI activist told to pay Rs 1.34cr to check land documents

    PATNA: Shiv Prakash Rai,who has been using the Right to Information to access government documents for scrutiny, was shocked when officials in Bihar told him that he would have to cough up Rs.1.34 crore to inspect documents on land registration.

    Rai, in his early 50s, approached the inspector general of registration in the registration, excise and prohibition department of Begusarai district in Bihar for documents pertaining to the purchase of agricultural land near cities.

    "I was shocked when the registration office of Begusarai district asked me to pay Rs 1.34 crore to search and see the documents required," Rai said. He said officials told him that copies of documents could only be made available after the amount was paid.He said the normal charge for inspecting documents was Rs 10 for the first hour, and Rs 5 for every hour beyond that.

    Bihar RTI activist told to pay Rs 1.34cr to check land documents - The Times of India