Building laws in Kolkata are heading for an overhaul. In a bid to expedite the overall construction cycle in the city and to facilitate ease of doing business in the state, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has launched a one-point mechanism for sanctioning building plans. It is now mandatory for developers and landowners to get their constructions sanctioned by applying online from April 1 for single-window clearance.
In this new Single Window System (SWS), the approved LBS or Architects, on behalf of the applicant will submit a common application form (CAF) to obtain building sanctions as well as for occupancy and completion of constructions. The CAF will be made available on the KMC website for the purpose. The civic body plans to commence a trial run from the 1st of March this year prior to the roll-out of the amendment from April 1st, 2020.
New Online System to Expedite Process and Integrate All External Authorities
In this major move, large sections of the KMC Acts and Building rules have been amended to offer landowners and realty-developers of high raises, hassle-free and speedy sanctions. Applicants looking for sanctions of buildings taller than 15.5 m (151ft) high or have a built-up area exceeding 500 sq. metres will now benefit from this single window nod as the new proposal will give them freedom from obtaining separate NOCs from several government agencies. Till now builders needed clearances from multiple agencies after submitting documents for sanction of plans with the KMC buildings department.
Under this reform, all external NOC issuing authorities like fire services, IGR, AAI, ASI, KMDA, WBF&EF, and PCB, etc. are being integrated and they will now issue the respective NOCs online within 15 days from receipt of application. The process has been made simpler with the number of procedures coming down substantially from 23 to 10.
KMC to Sanction Building Plans within 30 Working Days
Under this new integrated system, KMC, acting as the nodal department will now coordinate with all the external agencies to seek necessary approvals and fees. KMC will verify and clear all drawings, documents, NOCs, etc. within another 15 days of receipt of the NOCs from the external authorities and then issue the building plan sanction online. According to high placed civic officials, KMC will now sanction building plans within 30 working days from the day of the online application as against approximately 330 days under earlier rules.
WB Government Encourages Digitalization to Facilitate Ease of Doing Business
In other similar ground-breaking reforms, the building department of KMC, from 15th February 2020 will issue suo moto clearance of mutation certificates online, once a property is registered. Also, from now on builders and developers will have to obtain a completion certificate for the newly constructed buildings before applying for an occupancy certificate. The state has also championed digitalization in its land and land reform department through the computerization of all land records. These are seen as important steps to protect buyersâ€™ interest and eliminate red tape-ism and corruption from the system. These reforms are also a step further in facilitating ease of doing business in the state.
West Bengal government has been at the forefront of introducing digital reforms and prioritizing e-governance in the country. It has successfully introduced several e-governance projects in the state judiciary, health, education, taxation, and rural departments. Delivering public services through the electronic format and boosting e-governance, these reforms will remain as important initiatives in securing a better rank in the â€śease of doing businessâ€ť index. It currently enjoys a proud fourth position in the ease of doing business index in the country.