SMC sits on timely disposal of building permissions cases

Representational Photo

Inordinate delay in disposal of building permission cases by Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) is causing immense hardships to applicants to undertake constructions in Srinagar.

The inordinate delay is in violation of rules enumerated in J&K Municipal Corporation Act which provides for deciding the application seeking building permission within two months.

Sources said hundreds of cases are pending in SMC. Scores of people can be seen making rounds of SMC headquarters on daily basis pursuing their files to seek building permission.

“I have submitted my application eight months ago in a prescribed format. All necessary documents required under rules are enclosed with application. But till date, I am made to run from pillar to post,” said an applicant wishing anonymity.

“When the two month is over and application remains undecided….it is neither approved nor rejected by SMC, the rules provide that it should be deemed that applicant has been granted permission,” said advocate Marouf Khan.

An official said that around 600 cases are pending

“Granting of building permissions is also a major source to SMC revenue. Depending upon the nature of building, its size and location, an applicant is levied fee accordingly. This fee is major source of revenue to SMC,” said an official.

He added that since the concerned officials are not clearing files within stipulated time, it causes hardships to applicants and also results in revenue loss worth crores of rupees to the SMC.

A group of aggrieved applicants said some officials are raising “unnecessary queries and demanding documents which doesn’t exist under rules” for building permission.

“I was directed to submit a no objection certificates from all neighbors. Besides I was asked to get these NoCs affidavit sworn before first class magistrate. This clause doesn’t exists in Municipal Act,” an applicant said.

Few weeks ago, the SMC Commissioner Gazanfar Ali had directed officials to decide applications seeking building permissions within 10 days. However, these directions were never implemented on ground.

“There were only 294 files pending relating to building permissions. Out of them, 45 have been granted permission. Process is on to streamline the process for deciding building construction applications more expeditiously within stipulated time,” the SMC Commissioner said.