Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan Thursday declared that the government would bring out a uniform policy for regularisation of unauthorised structures across the state.
The chief minister also announced the setting up of a 14-member high-level panel headed by Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte to evolve the policy’s roadmap. The committee will also comprise municipal commissioners from other regions and town planning officers.
Chavan has, however, turned down a demand for blanket regularisation of illegal structures in a municipal corporation on the lines of the model applied in Ulhasnagar earlier, arguing that this “the model achieved nothing”. But he hinted that the government was even open to amending norms to bring down the penalty collected from such unauthorised structures as part of the property tax.
While ruling alliance legislators, especially those from the Nationalist Congress Party, have been pushing for regularisation of illegal structures, Chavan made it clear that those existing on land reserved for public purposes or on defence land and riverbeds could not be regularised.
In the Assembly, NCP legislator Vilas Lande had raised a calling attention motion demanding that the state halt the ongoing demolition drive against illegal constructions in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) limits and regularise constructions as per the assurance made previously.
As many as 66,324 structures out of the 3.8 lakh existing in PCMC are illegal. After a Bombay High Court verdict on October 4, 2013 directed demolition of these illegal structures, the PCMC has so far served notices on 3,035 structures and razed 614.
Chavan, however, said demolition of all these structures was “impractical” as it would involve huge manpower and resource deployment. Even as Lande, another NCP legislator Bapu Pathare and some Maharashtra Navnirman Sena legislators insisted that the government should stay the demolition drive, Chavan said the government would file a petition in the court in this regard.
Replying to the calling attention, Chavan said about 80,000 structures were unauthorised in Pimpri-Chinchwad alone. Besides 66,324 in PCMC limits, another 16,700-odd structures exist in the area falling under the Pimpri-Chinchwad New Town Development Authority and 1,300 structures on land owned by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation in the region.
Ruling out universal regularisation, Chavan said the panel would be asked to look into the feasibility of changing land use zone to regularise structures on NDZs and green zones. For structures that have come up in violation of development control regulations, including floor space index (FSI) illegalities and open space violations among others, the CM said the committee would be asked to probe whether such illegalities could be condoned by charging premium or using discretionary powers enjoyed by civic commissioners.
After BJP member Girish Bapat sought action against builders and officials responsible for illegal constructions, Chavan declared that the committee would be asked to probe this aspect too.
Even as Lande stood up to express his dissatisfaction over the reply, Speaker Dilip Walse Patil intervened. He asked Chavan to ensure that the committee submitted its report in a time-bound manner and some interim relief was granted to those affected. He even suggested that the government could convene a special two-day session to discuss the proposed policy on illegal structures.