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The West Bengal Assembly on Friday passed the West Bengal Panchayat (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which empowers a gram panchayat to grant permission for construction of any building within its jurisdiction and levy fees on registration for running trade of any nature. The bill seeks to empower a gram panchayat to grant permission for erection of any building or any addition to any structure within its jurisdiction up to the plinth area of 150 sq metres and height of 6.5 metres and also charge fees for permission at the approved rate. It also empowers that a panchayat Samiti may grant permission for construction of any structure with an area of more than 150 sq metres and up to 300 sq metres and height up to 6.5 metres in its area where there is no development authority and also charge fees for permission at approved rate. The amendment of the Bill also empowers a Zilla Parishad to grant permission for the erection of a building with an area of more than 300 sq metres and height up to 15 metres. It also empowers the Zilla Parishad to examine the building plan of a structure with a height of more than 15 metres, examined by the state government in the panchayat and rural development department for granting permission. It was learnt that the panchayat and rural development department will place the building or site plan before a building committee which will be constituted by the state government for consideration and making a recommendation for vetting.