SHILLONG, May 15: Heeding the appeals of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government has withdrawn the implementation of the Meghalaya Urban Development Authority (MUDA) building bylaws from areas which fall under the jurisdiction of the Council.
At the same time, the government has also directed the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) and the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department to relax the permissions required for providing power and water connection to newly constructed houses in the scheduled areas.
The decision was taken at a tripartite meeting between the state government, KHADC and the traditional heads under the banner of the Synjuk Ki Nongsynshar Shnong Ka Bri U Hynniewtrep (SNSBH) which was held in the city here on Tuesday.
The meeting chaired by Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma was attended by Cabinet Ministers, the Chief Executive Member (CEM) of the KHADC, Pynshngain N Syiem, MDCs and representatives of the Synjuk besides senior government officials.
“We have decided in principle that the areas under the Autonomous District Council (ADC) outside the purview of the municipality will not be affected by the MUDA building byelaws,” Conrad said after the meeting.
Conrad also informed that the government will also direct MeECL and the PHE department to ensure that the permissions required are relaxed because many people are suffering as they are not getting power and water connections.
“We have asked the urban department to write to the MeECL and PHE to relax those provisions,” he said.
In a similar meeting held last year, the previous state government had decided to appoint local authorities under the tribal district councils for implementing of the building byelaws for regulating building constructions in areas outside the municipality.
However, Conrad said that the decision taken by the then government on the issue is something which the present government is not having in mind.
Asked how the government is planning to regulate and monitor building construction outside the municipal area, Conrad said that the government has asked the KHADC to come up with its own building byelaws.
“The district council will be framing their building byelaws and we have decided on the need to put up Town Planning Committees (TPCs). The District Council Affairs (DCA) and KHADC will also together discuss how to make laws for the TPCs,” he said.
When reminded that the state government in September 25, 2015 had struck down the KHAD (Land Development and Building) Regulation, 2015 passed by the KHADC by declaring it as “unauthorized”, Conrad however said, “That is what I am saying. We are here to look into all those aspects and revisit as we must realize that the original provisions that were there in the laws are in 1973 Act which mention about the fact that this (building byelaws) will be applicable except in the ADC areas.”
Whether there was a proposal to amend the Meghalaya Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act, 2004, Conrad admitted that there were some legal complications and the law department has been asked to look into these.
As per the amended Act 2004, section 1 sub-section (2) of the original Meghalaya Town and Country Planning Act, 1973 which clearly states “It shall extend to the whole of Meghalaya excluding the Autonomous Districts” – has been deleted.
Conrad also said that there is a need to examine the legality of amendments made so far even as he added that the legal department will examine all those and move in the right manner.
“But what is more important is that apart from the legal aspect and legal provisions, in principle the decision was to go back to the original provisions that was there in the law (1973),” he announced.
On the other hand, KHADC chief Pynshngain N Syiem informed that the government has agreed to re-insert section 1 sub-section (2) of the original Meghalaya Town and Country Planning Act, 1973, which excludes the scheduled areas from the building byelaws of the state.
“The government has assured to pass an ordinance for amending the 2004 Act by bringing back section 1 sub-section (2) of the original Act,” he said.
Syiem also informed that the state government has also agreed to declare the building regulations framed by the KHADC in 2015 as “authorized”.