Reply to RTI plea reveals over 30 such buildings operating in city
Seven illegal resorts,marriage palaces,country clubs,farmhouses and educational institutes in Greater Mohali area have sought regularisation even as at least 26 other such structures continue to operate without any check.
While the applications of Palki Palace,Chashme Shahi Resort (both in Balongi),Mata Sahib Kaur Public School (Sohara),Guru Nanak Dev College (Makkrian),Balbir Singh Sidhu Marriage Palace (Sohana),IPF Bikram India Ltd and Chimney Heights (Dayalpura) are under consideration,no action has been taken against other illegal establishments,mostly owned benami by senior politicians and bureaucrats.
Official information procured by Newsline from the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) under the Right to Information Act revealed that the Change of Land Use (CLU) procured by Bikram India and Chimney Heights has already been cancelled by the state government.
Five other applications pertain to illegal constructions seeking regularisation under a special offer made by the state government in September 2008,wherein applications were invited from structures violating the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) Building Rules outside the municipal limits across the state.
With their applications awaiting a decision,charges applicable on the seven illegal structures have not been calculated yet,said GMADA Regulatory branch.
According to official information,of the total 29 marriage palaces,resorts and country clubs in Greater Mohali,only two have procured a CLU from the state government.
Out of these,the CLU granted to Chimney Heights,a country resort spread over 10.5 acres of land on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway in Dayalpura village,has been cancelled while Vaseela Heritage Resorts has neither got its site plans approved nor deposited the requisite fee.
Incidentally,both the resorts are owned by the relatives of former chiefs of the Punjab Police.
While Col Rajdip Singh Virk (Retd),who owns Chimney Heights,is the brother of beleaguered Maharashtra DGP S S Virk,Vaseelas owner M P S Aulakh,who had retired as Punjab DGP (Prisons) in 2005,is the brother of National Security Guard DG N P S Aulakh.
The case of the controversial Forest Hill Resorts in Karoran village is also pending before the Supreme Court for alleged encroachment of the forest area and memberships to certain executive and judicial top brass.
GMADA Superintending Engineer H S Sodhi said no farmhouse in Greater Mohali has been granted permission by the state government.
According to the directive of the state government issued on October 15,1966,the minimum area required for developing a farmhouse was five acres but the New Periphery Policy notified on January 20,2006,reduced it to 2.5 acres.
The farmhouse owners are required to procure a CLU,for which requisite fee is applicable. However,the RTI information remained silent over the number of farmhouses existing in Greater Mohali or the action initiated against illegal farmhouses.
A majority of the farmhouses in Chandigarh periphery,falling under Greater Mohali,are owned by the top serving or retired civil and police officers besides politicians.
Though the RTI information revealed that demolition orders were passed against Apsara Resorts in Chhatt village and Amrit Garden Centre for Social Culture at Kambala village,no information was provided on the action against other illegal resorts.
Besides initiating demolition proceedings,we are also recommending FIRs against owners or developers of illegal structures. Illegal farmhouses will also invite similar action as using land for any purpose other than agriculture requires a CLU.
GMADA Additional Chief Administrator Balwinder Singh Multani