Not my fault

[Cross posted on Praja]

It costs Rs 5000 and there is no online version available, not even a summarized one. So while I am yet to read Bangalore’s Masterplan-2015, newspapers have been supplying bits and bytes on it. Of them recently, this one caught my attention. Apparently, with CDP-2015, Architects, planners and engineers face the threat of losing licences if they fail to report violations of building byelaws, and they are not happy with it:

“By bringing in this clause, the authorities, they allege, are shifting the burden of enforcing the laws to architects, town planners and engineers.”

Alright, government bashing is fashion of the day. But I fail to see the rationale behind general expectations that everything is the responsibility of “officials”. (Actually, I find this word “officials” pretty amusing, will save that for a later post).

Say you are building a house. You submitted a blueprint/design, and got it approved. Construction begins. Boom boom, 3 months later, you have a new house ready with multiple violations. How could this have happened? I see only two possible ways:

  1. When getting your design approved, you paid the approver “official” to ignore violations.
  2. You haven’t built what exactly was approved.

If it was point #1, the “official” needs to be taken to task. But should it be him alone? Architect or Engineers did get a chance to review the design before they started construction. Wont it be a critical check-and-balance in the system if they refused to build something that had violations?

If it was point #2, then you most likely “paid” the Architect or Engineer to alter the approved design. Why expect our dear “officials” to regularly monitor and inspect every single construction activity for irregularities? Is that feasible? Shouldn’t the “officials” trust – first you, and next the Architects and Engineers – to stick with what was approved?

Again, I haven’t read the relevant clauses, and I only have newspaper reports to go by. But this seemed like a case of “its not me, its them”, or rather, another one in the theme of expecting the “officials” to do all the policing while we shy away from our own responsibilities.

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