Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday unveiled amended people-friendly Punjab Municipal Building Bye Laws, plugging the deficiencies in the earlier provisions and seeking to give a boost to the sluggish construction and infrastructure development activity in the state.
The new bye laws, covering construction of residential, commercial and industrial buildings, including hotels, miniplexes and other infrastructure projects, are aimed at making construction activity in the state more seamless and hassle-free for all the stakeholders, thus reviving the sector in the state, according to Local Government Minister Brahm Mohindra.
Additional Chief Secretary Local Government Sanjay Kumar said that the bye laws had been notified by the Town Planning wing of the Local Government Department on December 31, 2019. Prominent amongst those present on the occasion were Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, CM’s Principal Secreary Tejveer Singh, Special Principal Secretary to CM Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, Director Local Government Bhupinder Pal Singh and State Town Planner Kamal Preet Kaur.
As per the amended bye-laws, Cinemas would now be considered as Miniplexes, with their capacity enhanced to four from the earlier two, and the seats increased to 999 without any bar of minimum seats per cinema fixed at 250 earlier.
For inviting investments in small ULBs, the frontage of the plot for miniplex has been reduced to accommodate the small plot sizes in Class I and II towns. Further, the owner/builder can now convert his existing Cimema to Miniplex with commercial component on 50 feet wide road too. Ground coverage of miniplex has also been increased.
Keeping vertical growth in consideration, the FAR of multiplexes have been increased on different sizes of roads. This will invite more Mega Projects in Punjab which will bring more investment and employment opportunities.
The Punjab Purchase of FAR has also been introduced in multiplexes on payment basis, along with Transferable Development Right to boost investment opportunities, for which the requisite terms and conditions of purchase of FAR have also been clearly defined in the amended bye-laws.
Further, the builders can build more flats leading to better return in their investment, which will not only attract more investments in Urban Punjab but also improve the financial condition of Urban Local Bodies while checking unauthorised constructions in such projects.
In order to encourage planned development and investment in urban Punjab, the hotels, motels and guest houses have also been incorporated in the amended bye laws. In earlier bye laws, the minimum plot size for hotels was 1000 sq. mts but in thickly populated urban areas with mixed population strata there was need of economy/budget hotels near railway stations and bus stands.
In such areas, only small size plots are available, therefore the plot size has been reduced from 1000 sq. yds to minimum of 200 sq. mts. The move will encourage tourism in heritage cities and business opportunities for industrial cities. Also, the norms of guest houses/ boarding and lodging/service apartments have been relaxed, which will result in similar advantages to hospitality sector as well as floating population.
The new bye laws also allow storage godowns to be constructed along with industrial units with rates at par with those units, which will help cater to the need of small scale storage for industrial as well as commercial units.
In earlier bye laws, minimum area of Industry was 360 sq. yds, which was not favorable for small scale hosiery units, cottage industry and other small units which otherwise contribute tremendously to the economy of the state. Such small scale industrial units operate from even small size plots of 50 sq. yds.
Therefore, minimum plot size requirement fixed in previous bye laws has been omitted. This would facilitate unemployed youth from low income strata to engage in self-employment by starting small scale industrial units.
To boost Knitwear industry in Punjab, the height of Textile & Knitwear Industry and Information Technology industry buildings has been increased from 15 mt. to 21 mt. All these incentives would be instrumental in boosting industrial growth and allied employment opportunities.
To improve safety, Setbacks of Wholesale Trade/Ware House/Integrated Freight Complex have been fixed, while earlier there was no such limit.
Under the amended bye laws, medical colleges with Hospitals or Nursing colleges, hostels, etc. would be treated as Institutional Buildings. Ground coverage and FAR of such Medical -Institutional buildings, having area above 10 acres, has been increased for providing better medical facilities to the residents of state.
The restricted areas for building operations under different Acts were not mentioned in the bye laws earlier, but have now been included so as to help general masses ascertain the status of land before purchase.
The amended bye laws also regulate group housing, frontage of Group Housing plots now being fixed, and norms of public utilities and facilities also included. Commercial use has been relaxed in such projects, and now they can have opening on front roads subject to certain conditions. Crèche and Primary school have also been allowed in Group Housing projects for safety and convenience of children.
Size of balconies not to counted towards FAR has been increased from 1.2 meter to 1.8 meter, to make them more user friendly. This will be favourable to builders of group housing projects and ultimately benefit the residents of group housing.
The amended bye laws also provide for day care centres and play way schools in residential areas. Norms for Old Age Home/Care Centre for Differently Abled Persons / Mentally challenged/ Working Women/ Men Hostel/ Adult Education Centre/ Orphanage/ Children’s Centre/ Night Shelter, Religious Buildings and Anganwari have been introduced for providing better living environment.
In those cities where Master Plan has not been notified and there were no criteria of road width for commercial properties, the same has been fixed in the amended bye-laws. The declared Core areas that exist from centuries have been exempted and road width has not been fixed for those areas.
Similarly, the areas which have been declared commercial in Master Plans have also been exempted. Small shop owners and applicants who want to construct shop/commercial establishments in such areas will be specially benefitted by this facility.
In earlier bye laws, road width for petrol pumps was fixed at 100 feet, which discouraged Petrol companies from providing new petrol pump facilities in urban Punjab. Small ULBs were specifically affected by this, as no road is generally 100 feet wide. This has been reduced now to 60 feet to cater to the growing vehicular population.
For providing better and quality medical services, a slew of relaxations have been given to nursing homes and hospitals, which include 5% additional ground coverage for multi-level parking, with multi-level podium parking free from FAR and ground coverage allowed to facilitate ample parking in spaces. Common areas such as waiting halls, reception and fire stairs cases shall be allowed free from FAR.
In Nursing Homes/Hospitals, different and contradictory sizes of stretcher ramps were there in previous bye laws. Now uniform sizes and gradient of ramps have been provided to facilitate the patients.