Taking up a number of separate PILs on unauthorised construction in the capital, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the commissioners of the three MCDs to come before the court to “assist” it in coming up with a “solution to the rampant problem”.
Three different PILs regarding unauthorised construction across the city, including construction on the Yamuna riverbed, were brought up before the court of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul.
During the hearing, the court was informed that there was a lot of construction even in the Zone ‘O’ and Zone ‘P’ areas of the city, despite a total ban on any construction on the Yamuna riverbed. The lawyers for the petitioners alleged that despite the total ban on construction near the riverbed, malba was being dumped into the river to create “artificial” land where construction was taking place.
“Builders build houses, sell them and then disappear, then the illegal houses get regularised because thousands of people live there,” the lawyers said.
“What is going on in Delhi?” asked an exasperated court, which has asked the civic agencies to “come prepared with suggestions”.
Advocate Ajay Arora, appearing on behalf of the South Municipal Corporation, told the court that there was a serious shortage of personnel with the civic agencies due to which on-the-ground monitoring of unauthorised constructions was getting affected.
“One Junior Engineer who is supposed to monitor two zones has to monitor many more because of the vacancies,” Arora said.
The lawyers for the civic agencies also argued that nodal steering committees, which had representatives from all concerned civic agencies, had been constituted to look into the problem of unauthorised construction, as per court directions.
“What is your nodal committee doing? Has anything been done?” asked the court.
“The South Delhi Municipal Corporation and North Delhi Municipal Corporation must file affidavits indicating what actions have been taken by their respective nodal steering committees in respect of the properties mentioned in these petitions in particular and in respect of the areas under their control in general,” the court directed.
Similar Action Taken Reports have been called from the DDA within 10 days.