Monday, December 30, 2013

Recommendations of the Supreme Court Panel on forest land

Nearly 5 lakh residents living on the periphery of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) like Thane, Mulund and Vikhroli on the eastern suburbs and Malad, Kandivili and Poisar in the western suburbs were affected by a High Court verdict last year notifying their land. Some huge housing complexes as well as settle ments in existence for over six decades were declared 'illegal' in the verdict.

Prakash Paddikal of Mulund-based NGO Hillside Residents W elf are Association (HIRWA), said, "Based on the CEC's current suggestions and the Net Present Value for these lands, we have calculated that residents with OCs may have to pay about Rs 8-10 lakh to regularize their homes. Considering the pressure we have been under for so long, that seems an acceptable suggestion."

As for residents without valid OCs, the CEC has agreed to consider their cases after their applications with details are duly filed, Paddikal said. HIRWA, along with the NGO People's Power of Nation, has beenfighting for the residents' rights for long.

Rajendra Manglurkar, joint secretary of the state Revenue and Forest department, said, "The illegal forest issue has been hanging in balance for the past 34 years and we want it to be resolved once for all. If the CEC's solution is acceptable to the public, weare more than happy with it."


One-time afforestation charges for forest land residents of pre-2006 buildings possessing valid occupation certificate or completion certificate.

Between 10 and 15 times afforestation charges for residents who have booked flats in buildings under construction 20 times charges for areas which have been booked for development but work has not yet begun or is in initial stages.

No afforestation charges for farmers owning land in non- agricultural regions and government buildings in private forest lands. The Issue came to limelight in 2002 after the Bombay Environmental Action Group filed a petition in the Bombay High Court over encroachment on forest land. In 2005, the government told the HC that there were encroachments on private forest land. While HC ruling went againstresidents and builders, residents associations filed a Special Leave Petition inthe SC, after which the panel was formed.

A Central Empowered Committee (CEC) has been appointed by the Supreme Court on the forest land issue which is headed by TV Jaikrishna and the Committee is reported to have visited Thane, Mulund and Vikhroli on December 30,2008.

KOLKATA-BASED Eden City Projects has come up with a new scheme for its residential projects, which requires an applicant to pay only 15 per cent of the cost on allotment and the remaining amount as monthly installments two years later, on getting the physical possession of the flat.

“Book now and start paying in 2011”, seems to the buzzword in the realty space. Explaning the sheme, Biswadeep Gupta, General Manager said, “In the scheme called Empower all one has to do is to fill up the prescribed application form with requisite booking amount, which is not very high. Pay 15 per cent of the total value on allotment and sign a home loan agreementwith the developer's home loan partner (whichcould be HDFC, ICICI or someone else) and start paying the rest ofthe money as equated monthly installments(EMI) only from 2011 onwards, after the developeractually gives physical possessionof flats.
An increasing number of developers are coming up with similar schemes, which is just another name for discount, without actually reducing the price of property.

It means one has enough time to save up for a house. People who pay rent would be spared from the burden of paying monthly installment also, and no interest would be charged for the interim period either.

Eden City Projects was one of the first to start the scheme when slowdown set in. Others such as Riverbank Holdings (which is developing Calcutta Riverside Projects as Batanagar) and Ruchi Realty (which is developing Active Acres), followed the suit.

Eden City's Empower claims to have more advantages than one. One can buy a residential property at present prevailing price, but start paying the EMI two years later, that is from 2011 onwards. One doesn't have to pay house rent and EMI together. Besides, one can choose the EMI tenure, of course, subject to loan approval.

For a two-bedroom flat of 796 sq ft, which comes with a price tag of Rs 14.98 lakh with car park, one has to pay Rs 2.24 lakh as booking amount and start paying EMI from 2011. Similarly, for a three-bedroom flat of 1,236 sq ft, whose price is Rs 22.57 lakh, one has to pay a booking amount Rs 3.38Iakh, he said.

Ruchi Realty Holdings, the realty arm of Ruchi Industries, has also come up with a subvention scheme. Shivam Asthana, vice-president of Ruchi Realty, said his company has teamed up with HDFC to offer this subvention scheme. Interestingly, the developers in all such cases are bearing the burden of re-EMl interests. For all practical purposes, therefore,it is all but a heavy discount offered to customers in a differentformat.

                   Bombav High Court issues Notice

The Bombay High Court has sent notices to RBI and others to respond to public interest litigation (PIL) that sought the court's directive to banks to put up signboards on mortgaged lands on which construction was being undertaken.

A division bench of Chief Justice and Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud was hearing PIL filed by one Rajendra Thacker against RBI, Syndicate Bank, Housing Development and Infrastructure (HDIL) and Enigma Constructions, which issued a brochure under the brand name Rustomjee Estate. The brochure, however, did not mention that the land was partly mortgaged to a bank.

The petitioner's lawyer Sumedha Rao said: "We want banks to put up signboards stating that the land has been mortgaged. Also, the banks should publish a list of properties on which they have a mortgage or a charge." The petitioner's contention was thatif the land's title was in dispute, the builder cannot 'convey' goodand marketable title of the flat to owners unless the litigation over the title ends. In such cases, the buyers may get cheated of their rights in the property for which they have paid full consideration.

Ms Rao, further urged that the builders may make it clear in their advertisements that land was mortgaged.

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Saturday, December 28, 2013


If you are a Bangalorean or if you love Bangalore and want to know about your Bangalore from Nineteen thirties onwards, close your eyes, imagine sitting in the Time Machine of Dr. H.G. Wells-and-Io! - You have started your journey!

Whatever may be the reasons for your visit to Bangalore, it will not be complete without visiting the Majestic area. As you get down fromthe City Railway Station, (not the present building with parking lots and all,the old railway station started right from platform number 'one') you come across a big tank (lake) of about forty acres full of water (starting from the end of the present Bus Station at the south till almost the road leading towards Anand Rao Circle towards north and up to Sangam theatre area towards the east) which was called as 'Dharmambhudi kere.' You have to tread by walk only on the tank bund to reach Majestic area.

There were hardly half a dozen- city buses for the entire city. There was no Bus Station at that place and for all moffusil services; buses were stationed at Kalasipalyam near City Market. When you reach the area of the Majestic Theatre, you face a vast estate full of plants, trees, greenery and nothing else! Surprised? The estate ended at Mysore Bank square (the present State Bank of Mysore's head office.) and Government Law College. That vast garden was called "Manorama Estate." At that time, there were only a few theatres in Bangalore such as Select, Majestic, Variety and Doddanna hall.

(Which is now called 'Paramount' near Kalasipalyam Bus Stand.) The climate of Bangalore demanded wearing of some woolen clothing all through the year except during March and April. You could not make out whether it was morning, afternoon or evening. All the time the Sun was just managing to pierce its rays through the branches of the trees. The entire city was a gigantic garden. It was an ocean of great greenery with fantastic ambience. The mercury reached to as low a point as eight degrees centigrade on a peak winter day. The average was around fourteen degrees.

 The winter months started almost at the end of October and lasted till middle of February. In the short summer of virtually two months, the mercury hovered around early thirties. The pre-monsoon showers in May resulted in the temperature going down to below twenty-five degrees. It rained on odd days even during March and April. It was more or less continuous rains from the middle of May till October. Again it rained on Odd days during November and December. There used to be misty mornings throughout November, December and part of January too.These were mainly attributed to Bangalore being situated at over 2800 feetabove Sea level.

If it was a cyclone in Madras, the Bangalorean caught cold. If it rained in Mangalore or Goa, the people here felt the chill. If it rained in Kerala, the city would have drizzles. If it is a cyclone in Andhra, the Bangalorean would sneeze. There was no other city in India than Bangalore for the best and balanced weather conditions. It is one of the main reasons for people from other States to migrate to this great city. Unlike other cities, here it was a case of roads amidst greenery and gardens, than gardens amidst the roads.In the nineteen thirties, the population of Bangalore was just around 1,50,000. The city virtually ended at Malleswaram in the north, little beyond city railway station at the west, Basavanagudi in the south and Shivajinagar area and Mayo hall towards the east. There was no Rajajinagar area let alone Vijayanagar. There was no Rajmahal, or Sadashivanagar nor Hebbal or R.T.Nagar. For that matter Jayanagar was born only in the fifties. Hebbal was a village called Gangenahalli.

Yeshwanthapur was a separate hamlet. Hanumanthanagar was called Sunkenahalli. Ulsoor too was a separate hamlet. Most of the cantonment area belonged to the Defence Establishments. All the hundred odd surrounding villages became part of the city over a period and were christened Royal with new names.
For transportation and conveyance, there were hardly half a dozen private buses plying inside the city. Thee were Jutkhas (horse drawn carriages) mostly in the city area. At the cantonment area, human drawn carts and cycle rickshaws were popular. The autos made their appearance only in thelate forties. Again there were a dozen taxis in the entire city confined to the city and cantonment railway stations. Most of the Bangaloreans preferred to walk it was not strenuous due to the fine weather conditions. There were hardly about two thousand cars in the entire city and most of them belonged to the British and the Anglo-Indians apart from few locals. Almost all the cars were of foreign make. Later, Fiat, Standard and Ambassador cars of Indian make made their entry. Scooters too were not invented by then. There were a few hundred motorcycles of foreign make like BSA, Red Indian and a few others. Enfield and Java made their annas only! petrol was below fifty paisa and crossed sixty paisa marks only during late Fifties. There were very few petrol bunks of BurmaShell and Caltex, which were foreign compames.

There were no big hotels or restaurants during that period except a few small ones in each area. The cost of a cup of coffee or tea was six paisa only! Not the present six paisa but the old six paisa, which is equal to the present three paisa. At that time, a rupee constituted sixteen annas. Each anna was equal to twelve paisa, which worked out to one hundred ninety two paisa for a rupee! And for that 192 paisa, you could get 192 masal vadas with chutney! The cost of an idli or uddin vada was only three paisa, which is equal to the present one and a half paisa, so was the cost of the normal big sized sada dosa with chutney. For masala dosa lovers, you could have a big sized masala dosa made from pure ghee for just one anna only! Which is equal to the present six paisa. ( have said 'pure ghee' since the people were not aware of adulteration tactics at that time.) Three pooris with saagu too cost the same price. How great it would have been if it was the present salaries and the past prices?

Now that your stomach is full; how about some entertainment? You could watch a movie in any of the theatres from one ann a onwards and you will be the King of the balcony just for six annas only! (Which was equal to the present thirty-six paisa). After watching the movie, if you want to have dinner, you would get a good full meal for just three For people who decided to settle down in Bangalore, the rent of a house suitable for middle class, ranged from five rupees to ten rupees only! Depending upon the size and area. You could get twelve serus of rice or twenty serus of ragi for one rupee only! (A seru was little more than a KG in quantity. Eight chatakus cons~ituted a seru, two chatakus, a paavu, and four chatakus a padi, which was half a seru.) Again, a rupee could procure eight to ten serus of milk and one seru of pure ghee! You could buy a yard of cloth for pant or coat just for eight annas, which is equal to the present fifty paisa only! (A yard is slightly less than a meter, - three feet is equal to a yard). A good cotton saree of eighteen-yard length cost just three rupees and silk saree of same size was available for twenty rupees! A silk saree with big jhari border cost twenty-five rupees only! A pair of dhoti cost just a rupee only! Gold, Silver and Copper were very cheap. The cost of one sovereign of gold was thirteen rupees only! And one tola (ten grams) of silver cost only ten annas, which is the present sixty paisa! At that time one rupee coins were made of silver, which weighed one tola. Nickel was used for making eight anna, two anna and one anna coins. One paisa coin was made of copper.

Perhaps you have started to wonder as to what would have been the emoluments during those days if things were that cheap. The highest paid person was the Viceroy of India whose monthly salary were thirty thousand rupees. The Deewans in the States were paid five thousand rupees a month. Government employees earned a monthly income ranging from ten rupees to twelve rupees. A constable of police was paid just two rupees per month as salary.(Nowadays, do you think a corrupt cop would accept anything less than twentyrupees at a time?) A primary school teacher was paid ten rupees a month and a peon earned five rupees a month. During those days, a man who had assets to the extent of ten thousand rupees in rural areas was considered as a rich man and in towns and cities, a man with assets of over one lakh rupees was considered as a very rich man!

So, now you can make out that the income and expenditure accounts never tallied even during those days. The history of deficit budget was prevalent for individuals as well as for the State even then. No wonder; there was hardly anything to save in those days too, - of course! - For an honest man.
Bangalore attracted business people, mostly outsiders, as most of the locals lacked vision. The local people except a few did not anticipate the potential for the growth of the city. Mostly Gujarathi, Marwaris, Jains, and Sindhis from Gujarath, Rajasthan, Delhi and Bombay entered the scene. Do you believe that the stretch of an acre of land where the Alankar market complex is situated at the K G Road at present was purchased by a lucky man for just one hundred fifty rupees in the nineteen thirties? The land ofanother acre where the Gupta market is situated at present was bought for just two hundred rupees during the same period! Our friends in the Real Estate business now, will definitely wish they had started doing their business right from those days. Step by step the development took place and building activities increased after our country gained Independence. Many banks, theatres and other business establishments started appearing one after another. The all round growth was rather fast in the fifties.

The population figure crossed ten lakhs by the early fifties. The number of auto rickshaws, taxis and BTC buses (there were no BTS buses at that time) increased. The factory buses of HAL, BEL, ITI and HMT, added to the traffic. The car population too increased. For the first time we could see more of the three Indian cars on the roads and even then the vehicle population was hardly around 15,000 only. Tourist buses and Contract carriagesmade their entry for people who wanted to visit other tourist spots from thecity. During those days, the auto fare from Majestic to Brigade road cost just sixty paisa and thus the autos for Bangalore became a necessary nuisance.

During the late forties and early fifties, theatres like Prabhath, States, Jai Hind, Sagar, Geetha, Kempegowda and Himalaya came up in the Majestic area. (Other theatres came up later) Apart from this, there were a few like Paramount near Kalasipalyam, Naaz and New City at N R Road, Liberty, Plaza and New Empire at the MG Road and New Opera and Imperial at Residency Road appeared. While a few others like Swastik, Central, Bharath, Shivaji, Minerva Super and Jayashree came up in the city area; Elgin, Everest and Shree came up in the cantonment area. All other theatres came up later.

Not to be left behind in the race, the hotel people too became active. Some of the oldest and popular hotels and restaurants were Anvari and Greenway, (two non-vegetarian hotels) which came up next to the Geetha theatre. (Geetha has been converted into a commercial complex now.) Some good hotels like Neo Mysore Cafe, opposite States theatre, Vasanth Vihar next to Sagar theatre, Vittal Vihar near the Law College and Vishnu Bhavan below Kempe gowda theatre catered to the needs of the growing population. Each one of these hotels had regular customers due to a distinct taste and quality aintained by them. Even in the later part of the fifties, a cup of coffee or tea cost just twelve paisa, an idli or vada cost six paisa and a masala dosa or a plate of poori cost just twenty- five paisa! A limited meal (which was called 'plate meal ') with two chapattis or four pooris with a bowl of rice, a cup of curds, sambar, rasam, papad, pickles and three varieties of sabji cost just thirty-seven paisa! A full meal of the same contents but with unlimited quantity cost just sixty paisa! Some of the other popular and old hotels were, the New Krishna Bhavan at Mill Corner in Malleswaram, Udupi Krishna Bhavan at Balepet, Arya Bhavan at Chickpet, Bombay Ananda Bhavan at Avenue Road, Prakash Cafe at Chamarajpet, Vidyarthi Bhavan at Gandhi Bazaar, Kalyan Cafe near Swastik theatre and the famous Gundappa hotel near Dharmaraja temple at Nagarthpet. Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) near Lalbagh was the best and the most popular of all the hotels. The biggest government office was the 'Attara Kacheri', which is the present High Court building. There was not even a single multi storeyed building. There were very few places to visit, such as Lalbagh, Cubbon Park, Museum and Bangalore Palace. Kempegowda towers on the four corners of the city served as picnic spots. People visited these places during weekends.

The corners, which marked the end of Bangalore by the great Shri. Kempegowda has become central parts of the city now. Famous temples during that period was Kote Venkateshwara at the fort area, Anjenaya temples at Hanumanthanagar and Banaswadi and Kashi Vishweshwara temple at Bale pet. A fewhospitals like City Hospital, Victoria, St., Martha's, Bowring, and Minto EyeHospital were attending to the medical needs ofthe citizens.

Government Arts and Science College, Central College for science, St., Josephs College, Government Law and Medical Colleges helped citizens in the pursuit of education. There was one High School called Vani Vilas High School exclusively for women. Some schools like Fort High School at Chamarajpet. Malleswaram High School, Seshadripuram High School, and Western Mission were popular. Some great personalities like Sir. M Visweshwariah who had been awarded the Bharata Ratna, the Nobel Prize winner Dr. c.v. Raman, writers and poets like MIS. D.Y. Gundappa, Masti Venkatesh Iyengar, T.P. Kailasam, K.Y. Iyer, T.S. Venkataramaiah, K. Y. Putappa, Navaratna Rama Rao, Y. Seetharamaiah and G P Rajaratnam were motivating the patriotic spirit amongst the people through their poems, plays, peeches and writings.

That was the great Bangalore of thirties forties and fifties. There is no need to write anything about the present, as you are all well aware of them. We are all responsible directly or indirectly for the factors contributing to the present state of affairs and definitely we all have to pay the price for the present mess the city is in. However, some leaders, executives politicians and the present Government headed by Shri. S M Krishnahas made a great beginning to improve Bangalore and there is no reason not toexpect better days at least in a decade or so. Finally, it is indeed great to note the interest evinced by the judiciary in the aspect of the citizen's welfare. Of late, some citizens too have shown interest in the improvement of the conditions of the city and the formation of area wise citizen's welfare associations is indeed a very good sign for the future of our great city.

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Building Contract Agreements

Building contract is defined as an agreement under which a person, invariably a contractor undertakes for reward the carrying out for another person called the owner or employer, works of building of civil engineering character. In other words, Building contract agreements are agreements for construction of buildings and other structural work proposed to be constructed, which fall within the category of ordinary contracts and are governed by the provisions of Indian Contract Act including the basic rules as envisaged under the said Act such as, competency of the parties to the contract, consent, existence of consideration to the agreement and not against the public policy.

There are two methods which are generally used by the owners and the contractors as detailed below:
Contract entered after inviting tenders: Under this method, the person who wants to construct a building invites tenders by advertising or issuing the Tender for 3 or more contractors and after choosing the best tender, accepts the tender amount with other terms and conditions.

Acceptance by the owner of the property constitutes a valid contract. Subsequently, a formal agreement is entered into between the owner and the contractor. For constituting a valid building agreement by adopting the instant method,The agreement should contain all the necessary and mandatory terms and conditions, particulars of the work required to be done and the schedule of quantities and rates. This method of agreement is generally followed by the Government, Local authorities, Architects and other public corporations and trusts.

Unlike in the former, in this mode of agreement, the owner and the contractor straight away negotiate and enter into a construction agreement and averments pertaining to the tenders cannot be looked into for evidence unless some ambiguity in the interpretation of recitals in the agreement exists. This method is generally adopted by commercial firms or individuals.

Format of the agreement: Generally the construction agreement that is available with the architect will be in the printed form where in blanks are filled in by hand or some provisions are altered by hand, if necessary. In doing so, care has to be taken to see that there is no inconsistency between the written words or provisions and those remaining in print. In case of any inconsistency, the word incorporated in the blank prevails over the one already printed since the words filled in the blanks will articulate the intention of the parties.

Appointment of an Architect: Irrespective of the magnitude of construction, once the hunt for an contractor is over, the immediate step to be taken by the owner is to appoint an architect who is duly qualified. However, the owner and the architect have discretion to choose the mode for entering into the construction agreement. The architect prepares preliminary drawings and estimates and then prepares working drawings and specifications and bills of quantities and other documents relevant for the contract. It is also the general practice to appoint a clerk of works or resident engineer for carrying day to day supervision of the work and to see that the instructions of the Architect and structural engineer are complied with by the contractor.

Lump sum contract: In this type of contract, the contractor agrees to carry out the work for a fixed amount irrespective of anything else, which would be arrived at after mutual negotiations between the parties to the contract. It is not advisable to opt for this method since it may lead to lot of confusion.

Items rate contract: Under this category, work is divided into several items of work and the contractor quotes price of each item including the remuneration that will be paid in accordance with the work carried out at the rates agreed upon, which can be

assessed with the help of a qualified Architect or a Civil Engineer. Percentage contract: In this case, the contractor is paid certain percentage of amount on the total actual cost of the building as agreed earlier.
Cost plus percentage contract: In this category, the contractor gets the actual cost of work as well as certain percentage over and above the said cost which is accepted by the owner.
General conditions of a building contract:

Description of the work to be executed.

Estimated quantities and rates payable.

Payment of earnest money and method of payment of running bills.
Time allowed for completion of the work.

Provision for extension of time.

Issuing interim and final certificate by the Architect.

Submission of the interim bills by the contractor and their payment.

Materials to be supplied by the owner.

Alterations, additions and omissions to be made if repaired according to the orders of the Engineer-in-charge.
Action and compensation payable in case of bad work.

Inspection of work.

Responsibility of the contractor for the acts done personally or through the agents authorized to undertake such acts.
Payment of damages or penalty in case of fai I ure of the contractor to commence or to carry outthe work according to the contract.

Liability of the contractor for compensation for delay in execution or completion of work.

Forfeiture of earnest money or security deposit.

Responsibility of the contractor to supply ladders, scaffoldings and other material required for construction

Contractor's responsibility to remove condemned work or materials.

Giving of notices and payment of fees to local authorities.

Contractor's liability to pay statutory wages to workers.

Liability of the contractor to provide lights, fences and other precautions at the work site.

Liability of the contractor in case of breach of any of the terms and conditions envisaged in the contract, including payment of labour charges.

Who has to bear the expenses incurred for supply of Electricity, water supply required for execution of the work.

Adjudication of disputes pertaining to the contract either by referring to an Arbitrator or otherwise.

Liability of the contractor for workmen compensation in case of injury or death during the course of employment.

Architect plays a pivotal role in a building contract since the entire object of the contract to construct the building depends upon amount of commitment and diligence involved. Certain duties have been vested upon the architect such as:

To insect the site of the roused building an to advise the owner about its suitability.

To prepare plans, drawings, specifications and estimates.
Get the plans sanctioned by the local authorities.

 Prepare tender or contract documents with all necessary conditions.

After acceptance of the tender and contract entered into, to supervise the work of the contract.

Apart from this, if there is any dispute regarding the construction then the Architect has to decide and give his decision by issuing a certificate to that effect. Further, the Architect has to administer and monitor day to day activities involved in the construction.

The contractor can appoint a Sub-Contractor for carrying out either for the whole work or part of the work, with or without the consent of the owner. However, if the consent of the owner is not obtained, Privacy of contract between the owner and the Sub-Contractor does not exist unlike with the contractor personally appointed by the owner and in such case the contractor alone will be liable for all the acts done by the Sub-Contractor. Similarly the Sub-Contractor does not derive any right to raise claim against the owner pertaining to the construction contract.

Considering the present scenario where the cost involved for constructing a building is mounting and several instances where the construction project is left incomplete due to lack of co-ordination between the owner, contractor and the architect, it is advisable to enter into a construction agreement, after complying with all the mandatory requirements as envisaged under the statute and reduce the same in writing to manifest the specific duties and obligations vested on all the necessary parties. For successful completion of the construction project, it is necessary to incorporate 11 the terms & conditions of the contract explicitly.