BENGALURU: Many builders in the city routinely violate BBMP’s byelaws. Usually, neighbours gossip and crib about it, and get on with their lives. Not so, with the Residential Welfare Association of Bangalore East (REWABE). They have been fighting it for the past three years in court and, they went a step further, and took to educating potential investors/buyers against flats in the ‘rogue’ buildings.
Their strategy is working. There are fewer buyers for these flats.
Two buildings on Hutchin’s Road and another on McPherson Road have exceeded the two-floor limit, claim the association. There also isn’t enough space between them and the adjacent buildings.
The association initially wrote letters to the ward’s assistant engineer. The officials would visit the spot, acknowledge the violation and issue notices. “Seven assistant engineers have been transferred over the past three years,” says Indira Arun, secretary of REWABE. In 2013, four sets of letters were sent to the assistant engineer, executive engineer and joint commissioner of BBMP. ”We have never received any written communication from them,” she says.
Through an RTI petition, they later retrieved the sanctioned plans of the constructions. “We bring to your notice that upon enquiry with your office, we were afforded a viewing of the licence plan, but even to the untrained eye, it is blatantly evident that the setbacks have not been maintained,” the letter sent to the builders reads. All the cases are currently pending with the Karnataka Appellate Tribunal. “However, the BBMP lawyers have been evading the hearings despite having agreed to help. Now, we conduct seminars to caution investors,” Indira adds.
The association members then approached Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy, who sent a town planning executive to take stock of the violations. However, nothing was done after that. Every four months, the cases come up for hearing, but are stalled because BBMP lawyers claim to have misplaced the files. “One of the building’s residents is having difficulty selling it as it is under litigation. Another is a commercial space and they are not bothered about it,” says Indira.
The park on Milton Street was cleaned only once or twice a month. While residents complained to the BBMP, the Horticulture Department -- during the Namma Bengaluru, Namma Kudege -- suggested that the association members themselves do something about it.
Once in three months, they organise flea markets with stalls that sell everything from food items to handicrafts. About `10,000 is generated every time and the money is used to maintain the park.
“A composting unit of 10X6 feet has also been built. Next month, 25 kg of dry leaves will be composted,” Indira says.
The pond in the park was renovated by fixing the pump and the fountain. A new gardener has been hired. He has planted hedges and helps maintain them.