Fri, 15 Sep 2000

Construction permit policy still hamstrung

JAKARTA (JP): A policy aimed at encouraging citizens to seek construction permits for small homes is still hamstrung by a lack of preparation both from officials and residents.

Permits from district offices for the construction of 200- square-meter or smaller houses, had become compulsory on Sept. 1.

The permits now can be issued in nine days if the applicant has all the necessary documents, compared to the earlier processing period of 24 days.

Together with the application form, an applicant has to submit a copies of his or her identity card, the land ownership certificate and property tax receipts.

But in Matraman, East Jakarta, most applicants have yet to request for their land ownership certificates from the City Land Agency. Only one out of 10 applicants here have received house construction permits.

During a visit to the area on Thursday, Deputy Governor for City Development Budihardjo Soekmadi said officials from the City Land Agency would be assigned to district offices starting October.

To check on the implementation of the new policy, Budihardjo also visited the district offices in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta and Mampang Prapatan in South Jakarta.

Albert Hutabarat of the Matraman district office said most of the land that belonged to people during the colonial era, do not have proper documentation on the transfer of ownership.

The complicated procedures to obtain a construction permit previously, had led many people to build homes without permits, officials say.

The permits are needed to ensure houses are built according to guidelines based on the city plan. Frequently, the stipulated minimum distance from the front wall of a house to the street is violated.

Budiharjo also cited disputes involving properties being demolished for road widening projects.

"Sometimes people don't know what the city plan is like and so design their houses according to their own wishes," he said.

Officials are authorized to stop the construction or demolish a structure which is found without the necessary building permits.

A temporary permit is issued in certain cases, for instance, if a house owner requests for a permit but the building's design still requires modification in line with city planning and technical guidelines.

However the policy is notorious for its non-enforcement. In response to a case of a house in Mampang Prapatan that is being constructed without displaying its permits, Budihardjo said any official suspected of colluding with the house owner, "should be reported to me."

Collusion is known to occur from the early stages of construction, such as the bribing of officials in charge of measurements.

Meanwhile, Kelapa Gading residents seemed to be more ready for the policy. Residents here whose houses were constructed by developers, had already obtained their land ownership documents and drawing plans for their homes from the property management. At least 12 applicants are having their requests for building permits processed. (07)