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- Bihar likely to miss PMAY-Gramin's March deadline
The state is now contemplating giving money directly to beneficiaries to buy land after directly negotiating with land-owners, said a senior central government official.Aman Sharma | ET Bureau | January 16, 2019, 12:30 IST
NEW DELHI: Bihar is likely to miss the deadline of March-end for completing targets under the central government’s flagship rural housing programme, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin), causing worry at the Centre and spelling potential embarrassment to the Nitish Kumar-headed JD (U)-BJP coalition regime in the state.
The agenda of an ongoing two day review meet has flagged this issue. It says Bihar has completed only about 300,000 houses out of the sanctioned 1.17 million, and has not even sanctioned about 240,000 houses so far.
Further, another 216,000 have not been completed even a year after release of first of three instalments to beneficiaries to make the house.
“This will come in the way of achievement of the target of construction of one crore (10 million) PMAY-G houses by March, 2019,” says the agenda of the review meeting called by the Centre, pointing to various laggard states including Bihar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had fixed a deadline of March 31, 2019 to complete PMAY (G). ET had earlier reported that Bihar was facing a major issue of shortage of sand to build the houses because of a crackdown on illegal mining, besides unavailability of land.
The state is now contemplating giving money directly to beneficiaries to buy land after directly negotiating with land-owners, said a senior central government official.
The state accounts for about half of the 485,000-odd houses that have yet to be sanctioned across the country. Besides, it has the highest number of “delayed” houses (about 216,000 out of nearly 794,000) which have not been built after release of money over a year ago. Odisha is struggling on this count too, with about 116,000 delayed houses.
The Centre has asked all states, especially Bihar, to prepare an action plan with time frames to achieve the targets by the end of March and provide completion targets set by them by various dates, such as January 31, February 28, March 15 and March 31.
- Modular toilets to become functional in a week: PMC TNN | Jan 18, 2019, 07:22 IST
As of now, 60 modular toilets have been installed across the city
PATNA: The modular toilets installed by the Patna Municipal Corporation(PMC), which were to be thrown open for public at the beginning of this month, are locked and gathering dust now.
The civic body had announced in September last that it selected two private agencies for installation of 400 modular toilets in the city by the end of December as part of the Centre’s Swachh Bharat Mission. As of now, 60 toilets have been installed near Patna Dental College, Ashok Rajpath and Gandhi Maidan roundabout, among other locations, while 40 are in the process of getting installed.
According to additional municipal commissioner D P Tiwary, lack of water connectivity is the reason behind the locked toilets.
“The Bihar Rajya Jal Parshad has been asked to resolve the issue of water connectivity as soon as possible. We will open the modular toilets for public use in a week,” he told this newspaper on Thursday.
PMC sources claimed the target of installing the remaining 300 modular toilets was likely to be met in the next two to three months. The toilets, being installed by private firms as part of their corporate social responsibilities, will have two units each — one for men and another for women. The cost of setting up a modular toilet is Rs 5 lakh.
Most public toilets in the city, especially the ones near the Patna Junction roundabout and Gandhi Maidan, wear a shabby look and are poorly maintained. Rajendra Nagar resident Abhilash Anand said, “Office-goers and college students have to face a lot of difficulties as most public toilets are unhygienic and non-functional.”
- Builders should mend ways or be ready to face the music: BiharRERA chief
Around 331 projects have been registered with us in nine months and 496 applications are pending for approval with BiharRERA.TNN | January 20, 2019, 12:06 IST
PATNA: Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) Act has brought relief to thousands of homebuyers. RERA-Bihar chairman Afzal Amanullah tells Faryal Rumi about challenges faced by the Authority in registering projects, keeping tab on erring builders and making the functioning of RERA paperless. Excerpts:
What are the challenges before RERA?
Around 331 projects have been registered with us in nine months and 496 applications are pending for approval. Wrong information given by builders is primarily responsible for delay in registration of projects. When we check the bank accounts of builders, it is found that that they keep getting money. This suggests that despite working on projects for a long time, the builders hide the previous records and label their old projects as new ones while furnishing papers for registration. Basically, the builders try to avoid paying fine for late registration of their projects. We have caught several builders submitting forged documents, including incumbency certificates, while applying for registration.
What can the homebuyers and builders expect from RERA in future?
The builders should comply with RERA norms. When the builders take money from homebuyers, they should follow the standards, timeline and fulfil promises. The builders can’t take the consumers for a ride. They have to open a separate account for the money they take from the consumers and 70% of money should be invested in the project. If a builder is facing difficulties in map approval and other related formalities, RERA is ready to help them by taking up the issue with the state government.
Are the developers complying with RERA rules?
We will soon hire a private agency to conduct surveys in urban and rural areas to identify unregistered projects. We have so far no record about the number of projects going on in the state. After getting the exact data, we will start taking action against the erring builders.
What is the scenario in real estate sector in state?
Unlike some other states, real estate sector in Bihar is unregulated. Lack of office space is another challenge for us. The RERA office is functioning from a dilapidated building which is not easily accessible for people. The office has no space to accommodate homebuyers, builders and advocates. We have urged the state government to shift the office to a new building. Lack of manpower is another problem for RERA-Bihar. It has only four permanent and 16 contract employees. The state government has been requested to sanction more posts for RERA.
RERA has completed nine months in Bihar. What are its achievements?
We are glad that the homebuyers have started trusting RERA. We have issued show cause notices to more than 350 builders for violating rules and also imposed heavy fine on them.
- Civic body tweaks norms to convert leasehold properties in Patna TNN | Updated: Jan 30, 2019, 10:24 IST
PATNA: The Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Tuesday approved conversion of leasehold properties of the Patna Regional Development Authority(PRDA) into freehold for residential purposes.
The decision was taken in the PMC’s 32nd empowered standing committee meeting. PMC commissioner Anupam Kumar Suman said, “The state government had refused the proposal of paying 25% extra of the market value of the leasehold property in order to make it freehold. So, now, the one-time settlement cost has been reduced from 25% extra to 10% extra of the market value for the leasehold properties to be freed for residential purposes.”
Regarding other issues taken up in the meeting was waterlogging in the city during the rainy season. “An estimated budget of Rs 1 crore has been made for the reconstruction of dilapidated roads in the city. Another Rs60 lakh has been allocated by the committee to improve the drainage facilities in the city,” Suman said.
“We will also take care of the cross duct installation beneath the roads being constructed or reconstructed in the PMC area for adding electric wires or water pipelines in future” he added.
The standing committee also approved hiring of seven chartered accountants to help the civic body in tabulating the expenses, budget of individual wards and circles along with the accounts of several projects underway.
PMC sources said the ward councillors would be sent to six different cities across the country for training and studying the functioning of civic bodies in the respective cities. The selected ward councillors will be sent to Ahmedabad, Surat, Mysuru, Indore, Vishakhapatnam and Thiruvananthapuram to see the functioning of waste management plants, building of infrastructures, establishments of sewerage treatment plants (STP) among others.
- HC seeks govt reply on illegal mining in Gaya Debashish Karmakar | TNN | Feb 6, 2019, 01:00 IST
PATNA: The Patna high court on Tuesday sought a detailed reply from assistant director of mines and geology department at Gaya within four weeks’ time on illegal stone quarrying in his area.
Dismissing the government’s submission that illegal stone quarrying activities had stopped following change in rules in 2014, the bench of Chief Justice Amrehswar Pratap Sahi and Justice Anjana Mishra relied on the counter affidavits submitted by the petitioner in which he had attached two FIRs dated September 28, 2017 and January 19, 2018 lodged with Mufassil police station against illegal quarrying in the area. The January 19 FIR was lodged by assistant director of mines and geology department, Gaya, against four firms for violation of law.
A battery of lawyers led by advocate general Lalit Kishore failed to convince the court that illegal activates had stopped after changes in mining rules. “Wahi kaarnama fir kaise chal raha hai (How the same illegal activity is going on),” the CJ made an oral observation. He, on record, stated that illegal mining had started in the area again.
Petitioner Jagdish Singh Arya had moved the high court in June 2017 to save human life and environment being destroyed in Lodipur, Bhagalpur, Kaibachak, Murgiachak, Rasuna, Mirzapur and Akkal Bigha areas due to illegal stone quarry. He had demanded a blanket ban on stone mining on more than 1,000 feet high Gere hills in Gaya as it had created a 300 feet deep crater and posed serious threat to human life, agriculture and environment. The petitioner had alleged massive illegal blasting and mining activities hardly 5 metres away from the villages in complete violation of Section 106(2)(b) of Metalliferous Mines Regulation Act, 1961, which prohibited any quarrying activities within 300 metres of habitation.
Sheikh Arkan Ahmed, who represented the petitioner, said 48 acre was leased by the government to different firms for quarrying, but they were carrying out their illegal activities in over 150 acre area. “Altogether 40 illegal crushers were stopped by the administration after the high court notice,” he said.
Earlier, the state government had submitted before the court in December 2017 that the petitioner had filed the PIL on the basis of wrong facts and action must be taken against him as no illegal activities were taking place in the area anymore. The court had then sought reply from the petitioner why coercive action should not be taken against him.
- Bihar: RERA notices to 51 builders Faryal Rumi | TNN | Updated: Feb 8, 2019, 00:20 IST
Illustration for representational purpose
PATNA: Bihar Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) has issued show-cause notices to 51 builders for advertising, promoting and selling their ongoing projects without registering them with the authority.
The notices were issued under Section 3 of the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act 2016 for violating the provisions. RERA has also taken a decision to slap a minimum penalty of Rs 10 lakh along with the project registration fee.
RERA used its own sources to gather information about these projects and also acted on the complaint received by anonymous callers and then served the show-cause notices to builders. Out of 51 notices, 46 have been sent to unregistered ongoing projects in Patna, three in Muzaffarpur and one each in Saran, Ara and Bodh Gaya.
Bihar RERA member Rajiva Bhushan Sinha said, “The Authority has given two weeks’ time to the erring builders to come up with a detailed reply to the show-cause notices. In case they fail to reply within stipulated time, punitive action will be initiated against the builders under Section 59 of the RERA Act.”
He added that the RERA members had conducted a survey between January 28 and February 1 to identify the erring builders, who had advertised their projects on various sections of social media, and other means.
The builders have been asked to register their residential projects (up to 1000 square metres) with RERA along with a late fee of Rs5 lakh or five times the registration amount, whichever is higher. The late registration fee for mixed and commercial projects is Rs7 lakh or seven times the registration fee, whichever is higher. The deadline for the registration of ongoing projects has been extended till February-end.
RERA Bihar has received 881 applications for registration of ongoing projects. Out of these, the Authority has already processed and registered 388 projects. The remaining applications are under scrutiny. RERA chairman Afzal Amanullah said as soon as the project gets registered, they will have to start maintaining a separate account for 70% of money received from the said project.
“To avoid the late fine and to cheat the buyers, the builders are trying to evade registration with the Authority,” he added.
- Min calls for waste management TNN | Feb 9, 2019, 01:00 IST
MUZAFFARPUR: Municipal bodies across the nation are trying to lower their expenditure over managing waste in their areas. In fact, some of them have worked smartly over the issue and set examples for others to follow, state minister for urban development and housing Suresh Kumar Sharma said here on Friday.
Sharma expressed his views at a workshop organised for the ward councillors of Muzaffarpur Municipal Corporation (MMC) here.
The programme, organised by the urban development and housing department and chaired by the minister had a discussion over segregation and management of both solid and wet wastes. Speakers, mostly officials of municipal corporations from eight states of the country shared their experiences with each other.
Addressing the opening ceremony, the minister said, “Management of waste is the need of the hour. All civic bodies from major metro cities are hankering for dumping wastes as landfill facilities are shrinking with each passing day. Hence, waste management has emerged as a major problem for them. Some municipalities like Ambikapur, Panchgani and Muzaffaprur have set an example for others to follow. They are not only managing their wastes in a better way, but are also earning from these wastes after converting it into useful objects. In fact, they are producing bio- friendly products from biodegradable wastes.”
Expressing happiness over Muzaffarpur civic body’s initiative of producing compost from waste, Sharma said it has proved a boon. “The civic body is now earning revenue from compost. Based on the success of this initiative, many other municipalities have adopted it in their respective areas for garbage management,” the minister said.
Panchgani Hill Municipal Council mayor Laxmi Karhadkar deliberated on sustainable waste management. She said, “Keeping our cities clean by only collecting and disposing wastes is not sufficient. Zero landfill is the need of the hour as land is not available for dumping garbage. Hence, segregation at source, proper treatment, recycling and reuse of the waste is more important. We have developed good practices in this respect with people’s participation. We have developed a sense of cleanliness after holding series of workshops and symposiums to make them aware of its benefits. And finally, our efforts have been cherished and our city has been declared as one of the most clean city of the country very recently.”
Representatives of Ambikapur, Gangtok, Kakching and Imphal municipalities also expressed their views over different issues for better waste management.
- Gaya civic body outsources property tax collection job
According to sources, house builders in connivance with the corporation officials have managed to construct houses without getting the map approved by the civic body and such houseowners do not pay holding tax either. Abdul Qadir | TNN | February 11, 2019, 13:00 IST
GAYA: The revenue crunch- ridden Gaya Municipal Corporation (GMC) has outsourced the tax collection job and hired a private agency for collection of holding tax from the estimated 1 lakh dwellings and commercial units including about 20,000 unregistered holdings.
The city’s aerial map does not match with the records available with the corporation. According to sources, house builders in connivance with the corporation officials have managed to construct houses without getting the map approved by the civic body and such houseowners do not pay holding tax either.
As of now, the corporation gets only about Rs 8.3crore from the holding tax.
It gets another Rs 7 crore from sources other than holding tax, including share in the registration fee of urban property and rental received from corporation-owned property.
The establishment cost of the municipal body, as per available records comes to about Rs 36 crore. There are about 2,500 staff including dailywagers on the municipal body on pay rolls.
Conceding that the corporation revenue fell much short of its requirements, deputy mayor Mohan Srivastav said tax collectors of the corporation are to a great extent responsible for the sorry state of affairs of the corporation finances.
For that reason, tax collection has been outsourced to a private agency.
“The same agency has been collecting municipal tax in the state capital. The agency has made a commitment to ensure a 400% increase in tax collection from the present Rs 8 crore to Rs 32 crore in the next three years, failing which, the company will forfeit its claim on the stipulated commission for tax collection,” the deputy mayor said.
He alleged that the tax collectors were sabotaging the new arrangement.
The tax collectors, in several cases have not provided all the necessary records, particularly demand register to the private agency. “Even in cases where the demand register has been made available, some vital entries were missing. Action will be taken against these tax collectors,” the deputy mayor said.
The municipal body, in the meanwhile, has drawn flak for being concerned only with tax collection.
According to activist SB Bhaskar, tap water was not available to about 40% of the people living in the town. “Even in areas where tap water was available, supply remained irregular with poor pressure and leaking water pipes sucking mud from the drains, said the activist. The municipal body is yet to notify parking and vending zones, a mandatory requirement,” said Bhaskar.
- State government approves 39 posts for Bihar-RERA
RERA-Bihar was formed by the state government in April 2018 with Afzal Amanullah as its chairman and Rajiva Bhushan Sinha and Subodh Kumar Sinha two members.TNN | February 23, 2019, 13:00 IST
PATNA: The state government has approved creation of 39 posts for Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA)-Bihar, which has been facing shortage of staff for long.
RERA-Bihar was formed by the state government in April 2018 with Afzal Amanullah as its chairman and Rajiva Bhushan Sinha and Subodh Kumar Sinha two members.
Sinha told this newspaper on Friday that recruitment of staff would make it easier for the Authority to register real estate projects and scrutinise financial books of builders and real estate agents.
“We will now be able to keep close tabs on erring builders and take action against them. We are also expecting financial support from the government as the Authority has not received funds for the year 2017-18,” he said.
The letter, which was issued by the state urban development and housing department to RERA-Bihar on Thursday, states that the Authority will recruit 39 employees, including secretary, assistant secretaries, officer on special duty, senior technical officers, senior architects and financial controllers.
The Authority had submitted the proposal for sanction of posts in April. Currently, RERA-Bihar has 20 staff, including chairman, members and adjudicating officer.
He added, “Work at RERA office will pick up pace in two months and we will be able to dispose of cases and complaints of homebuyers more efficiently.”
The Authority has so far registered 443 ongoing projects in the state. At least 463 applications are under scrutiny.