The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) formally assumed the power to approve house building plans within the corporation limits on January 1. This power was earlier vested with the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA).
However, the BMC will approve plans for houses with a height of 15 metres or less and constructed within 2000 sqm land. While the areas in the BMC limits will come under the civic body’s jurisdiction for plan approval, houses in areas beyond the BMC limits will have to get their plan approved by the BDA.
It is also empowered to allow land development proposals for land measuring up to one acre.
Before starting any construction, individuals and developers have to approach BDA for its approval. However, it asks them to get no objection certificates (NOCs) from BMC for drain and road connectivity. “Since two agencies are involved, there is lack of coordination, which delays the approval process,” said a senior government officer.
“Earlier, the plan approval was being done by the BDA. Now, we will handle it. We hope the city planning and the plan approval will go hand-in-hand. Since BMC provides public services such as road and drain, if it does the planning exercise there would be better coordination for planned development,” Mayor Anant Narayan Jena said.
Interestingly, the BMC has no space to accommodate the planning cell and it will now temporarily operate from a building adjacent to the State Urban Development Authority. Sources said the permanent office of the planning cell is likely to function from BMC Bhawani Mall in Saheed Nagar.
According to the 74th amendment of the Indian Constitution, planning process of cities should be vested with the elected urban local bodies.