Lokayukta wants property buyers vigilant
By Team Mangalorean
Photographs: RK Bhat
MANGALORE, August 16, 2007: The Lokayukta of Karnataka N. Santhosh Hegde has called on the buyers of the property to make extensive use of the Right to Information act (RTI) to keep their investment in land and apartments secure from unscrupulous practices that the builders usually involve in.
Taking part in an interactive session on the theme 'The National Building Code and Mangalore city' organised by the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Thursday he said, the people should induce legislations like `title insurance and quality insurance' to protect themselves in the deceptive market of land and apartments.
During his talk Mr. Hegde said dwelling units were the most important for the common people who invest their lifetime savings and the unscrupulous builders and developers cannot be allowed to take them for a ride. All the housing areas should be so developed that there would be no compromise on quality and safety and every buyer, builder, promoter and the licencing authority should be honest about their project right from the conception stage.
He cautioned that usually the greedy builders put all the stake holders into trouble and they should be controlled legally if they do not abide by the approved plan. The approved plan by the licencing authority could be got under the RTI he added. The National Building Code (NBC) has to be seriously adhered scrupulously while making zoning norms and while amending the Comprehensive Development Plans in all the cities and though the building laws are done in accordance with the state policies the NBC regulations will have to be followed at all times, he asserted.
Mr. Hegde told that the NBC has been drafted with an eye for the future developmental designs and planners should take into the account the recommendations of the NBC if they are going to construct buildings for the future. He said planning of a city that does not allow even the emergency vehicles to ply without obstruction was no planning at all.
Since the introduction of the Right to Information act and the transparency act, the buyers and other stake holders were able to seek and get information on every aspect of the building and these legal facilities should be made use by everybody who wishes to buy property he appealed.
Later answering queries of the media and press persons Mr. Hegde told that there are number of buildings in Mangalore and about 600-700 buildings and Multi story complexes in Bangalore that have violated the rules and regularising them would be a crime.
Mr. Hegde during his interaction said it was necessary to make the builder accountable for his actions and every official in the licencing authority should be held responsible for not keeping up with the rules when issuing licences.
Earlier, President of the KCCI John Prasad Menezes presented a memorandum to the Lokayukta and vice president Kumble Narsimha Prabhu introduced Mr. Hegde.
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Fratricidal wars in Madhya Pradesh, not just among politicians
Madhya Pradesh is presenting a strange spectacle these days, with almost everyone arraigned against everyone else. The ruling BJP and the opposition Congress are understandably hostile against each other. But that is the case even within both the BJP and the Congress, with leaders in both parties fighting fratricidal wars. The Lokayukta and the Chief Information Commissioner of the State are at loggerheads with each other while the Lokayukta and the Assembly Speaker are having their own separate bout.
Chief Information Commissioner P.P.Tiwari slammed Lokayukta Ripusudan Dayal for trying to influence his decision in a Right to Information case and said that Dayal's action amounted to a contempt of court for which he (Tiwari) might proceed against the former Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court.
Dayal's first reaction was to do a bit of loud thinking, in the presence of a selected group of media persons, about the Chief Information Commissioner. His take was that the CIC was playing into the hands of the Shivraj Singh Chauhan government, which was feeling threatened by the investigations undertaken by the Lokayukta organisation. Later, the Lokayukta served on Tiwari a notice for contempt of court, accusing the latter of forging his (Dayal's) signature on an order sheet which, the notice says, amounts to scandalising the institution of the Lokayukta.
Meanwhile, the Lokayukta has moved a petition in the Madhya Pradesh High Court against a government notification, issued at the instance of the State Information Commission, bringing the Lokayukta organisation under the purview of the Right to Information Act. Some applicants had sought, invoking the RTI, information about the antecedents of an investigation officer of the Lokayukta organisation as well as the TA/DA received by Dayal. Appeals against the refusal of the Information Officers (under the RTI Act) to part with the information sought were pending with the State Information Commission which seemed to be the bone of contention between the two constitutional authorities.
Assembly Speaker Ishwardas Rohani has issued notice of a breach of privilege of the Assembly to Lokayukta Dayal and five officials of the Lokayukta organisation. The Lokayukta had earlier taken up for investigation a two-year-old complaint alleging bungling in some construction works on the premises of the Assembly building and had issued notices to some functionaries of the Assembly secretariat.
Four MLAs, three of the BJP and one of the JD (U), submitted to the Speaker notices of a breach of privilege against Ripusudan Dayal and others on the plea that the Lokayukta had infringed upon the privilege of the House by starting an investigation into the construction works on the Assembly premises and issuing notices to the Assembly secretariat officials without taking prior permission from the Speaker. "It is an unforgivable crime that an agency, created by the Assembly, should start investigation of the works on the Assembly premises itself", says Lavkesh Singh, one of the three BJP MLAs in his notice.
Most of the Congress leaders had for long been associated with the cooperative sector which is now considered "corruption sector". Minister of Cooperatives Gopal Bhargava ordered inquiries against those (Congress leaders) who had allegedly misused cooperative societies for increasing their personal assets. Some of the inquiries have been completed. Bhargava is not, however, unduly interested in prosecuting the culprits and sending them to jail. He seems to be having in mind, another, more down-to-earth, use of these inquiry reports.
Bhargava was, for instance, involved in an unsavoury controversy for presiding over a function where "raee" dance was held.
Fratricidal wars in Madhya Pradesh, not just among politicians | N.D.Sharma | Indiainteracts.com