The Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s (MCD) ambitious project to sanction building plans online, which was aimed to simplifying the lengthy procedure and checking corruption, has ended up creating a roadblock. In January, the civic agency started sanctioning building plans online for fresh constructions in authorized colonies in all its 12 zones, and since then the number of plans sanctioned has dwindled. The agency approved just 36 building plans online in January as against about 150 sanctioned manually in December 2011.
At present, MCD is sanctioning only fresh building plans in approved colonies online, under the new procedure. For alterations and any additional constructions, plans have to be submitted manually. Both architects and MCD officials admit that this project has the potential of checking graft and ensuring structurally safer buildings in the city but the decision to suddenly stop accepting applications manually has not been received very well by the general public.
Neeraj Dhingra, an architect empanelled with MCD said that “They should have allowed both manual and online submission initially. People, architects and, most importantly, MCD officials at the zonal level need to get used to the system. It is a big project and technical errors are bound to creep in. They stopped the manual system without streamlining the new system. It is a very time consuming process.’’
The maximum number of applications related to building plans was received from areas like the Shahdara (South), West, South, Central and Rohini and these zones are the worst hit areas. An average of 40-45 applications we received under the simplified procedure, no plans were sanctioned in the month of January in Shahdara.
One of the reason why general public is not happy with the new system is because there are only 403 architects registered with MCD for online submission and people are having a hard time getting their plans approved. MCD officials say that these architects have hiked their charges arbitrarily.
An MCD official said “Earlier, people could get the building plan made from any architect, but now they have to get it made from the empanelled ones. People are facing a lot of inconvenience.’’ Why are a majority of architects fighting shy of the system? It’s a mix of old habits dying hard, lack of familiarity with the new system and scepticism.
Many architects are also complaining that they are facing serious problems related to the serves, especially while uploading the plans in the website. Munish Pandit, who is empanelled with MCD said that “One has to load and check the plan several times before all the errors are removed. MCD should have a software to check the errors in real time. We can download the software. A lot of time is wasted in uploading the documents several times. Often their server doesn’t work and the applications crash midway.”
Y S Mann, director, press and information, MCD stated that “is Monday, the server was down for three-four hours. “We were carrying out checking of the server to rectify the errors.’’ Officials admit that architects are taking a lot of time in rectifying errors. In some cases, they have had to upload the plan at least 12-15 times. An MCD official with the building department also said that “The software for sanctioning building plan online doesn’t accept any deviation from the building bylaws and Master Plan of Delhi-2021. Even a 0.1% change in any parameter will generate an error.’’
Mann also said that “Not many people would have opted for online had we kept the manual submission open. We are training architects in uploading the plans and rectifying errors.’’ While the plan has to be applied for online, the civic agency demands a hard copy of all the documents, including the plan, to be submitted at the zonal offices. “We can’t sanction the plan until the architect or owner has submitted a hard copy of all the relevant documents in our office,’’ said an MCD official.
News Source : Times of India