GUWAHATI, July 19 - The ‘Digital India’ campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has nosedived here! The online building permission portal of the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), launched on August 18, 2015, has crashed, resulting in great misery for the architects and applicants, who sought permission to build their buildings in the Guwahati Metropolitan Area (GMA).
According to the applicants, they have now been asked to submit their applications manually. The situation has come to such a state that the applicants have been complaining that they have been subjected to harassment by the authorities.
With the introduction of the portal, it was claimed by the GMDA that the process of granting building permission would be accelerated and the people seeking building permission would be freed from the cumbersome process of submitting and getting their applications processed manually.
The contract to develop and maintain the software was awarded to the Delhi-based Softech Engineering Pvt Ltd through a competitive bidding system. The contract was worth around Rs 2 crore.
But the portal, which was launched with much enthusiasm, allegedly stopped functioning from July 14. Following this, the applicants have been asked to re-submit their applications in soft form as well as manually.
Architects here are critical even of the portal. They allege that the portal was launched as if on a trial basis and all the clauses of the building byelaws were not incorporated in it. This led to a lot of problems in submitting the drawings of the buildings, which lengthened the entire permission process.
Moreover, the portal did not have an anti-virus backup system, which resulted in this sorry state of affairs, alleged the architects.
Moreover, since the 2014 building byelaws of the city have kept a provision of dual permission – authorising the GMDA to grant permission for the planning part and the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) to grant the building permission – the process to grant building permission now requires the involvement of these two agencies.
But, while the GMDA has digitised its part of granting permission, the GMC is still sticking to the age-old manual mode. Therefore, the files of the applicants need to be sent to the GMC manually. There is no move to bring an end to this contradiction in the building permission process, rued the architects and the applicants.
Meanwhile, even as sources in the GMDA have claimed that the snag in the portal has been removed and the portal would be fully functional within two to three days’ time, the architects and applicants whose online applications are said to have been lost due to the accident that made the GMDA online building permission portal non-functional, are in a quandary as to the real status of their applications.
These architects and applicants allege that the GMDA is not telling them anything in concrete terms. It is alleged that around 1,100 files of the applicants are pending with the GMDA at present at different stages. One file means a huge load of documents, which took several days for an applicant to collect them.