Private builders in Punjab are offering independent floors in violation of the rules. Builders get building plans approved from a municipal body for ‘plotted development’ and sell them as ‘independent floors’. The violations are taking place within the jurisdiction of different municipal bodies across the state.
Under the municipal building bylaws, there are no provisions for ‘independent floors’. These building rules, applicable within the jurisdiction of municipalities, set norms for residential categories such as ‘group housing’ and ‘plotted development’. All building plans must comply with these rules otherwise are deemed illegal and unauthorised.
Builders are not only constructing floors in violation of the regulations, but they are also violating norms laid down for the plotted development in the process of construction of floors. For instance, the rules don’t provide for stilt parking under the plotted development category, many builders are still constructing them. Also, builders are not including the stilt parking area within the permissible covered area (FAR – floor area ratio). But, in the plotted development category, any space covered for porch or parking is counted under the permissible covered area.
Zirakpur in SAS Nagar district is the hub of floors in the state. Varinder Jain, executive officer, Zirakpur municipal council, when contacted, said, “Municipal rules have no provision for floors, so, we pass the building plans for houses (plotted development).” On the question of illegal constructions, including stilt parking, he said, “We can’t stop people from constructing stilt parking. Anyway these issues are to be dealt at the higher level.”
Satish Chandra, additional chief secretary, local government, said, “We will check the extent of the problem in the state, and undertake a survey of areas under different municipal bodies.” On whether the government is planning to make changes in the municipal rules to allow independent floors, he responded in the affirmative. “We will look into the matter and do the needful. May be, norms for floors on the pattern of Chandigarh can be also formulated in the state.”
FLOORS IN PUDA RULES
The Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) Building Rules define floors as, “a building used or intended to be used for residential purpose, where every floor of the building is a separate and independent dwelling unit.” Floors can only be constructed on the plot earmarked specifically for floors in the layout plan.