Bombay High Court on Thursday asked civic bodies in Thane district,besides government agencies including the Urban Development Department,CIDCO,the Maharashtra Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to file affidavits stating the number of illegal structures in their jurisdiction and action taken.
The matter came up during hearing of a PIL by Harit Vasai Sanrakshan Samiti (HVSS).
After the PIL was filed in 2007,a committee headed by the chief secretary had been appointed on the courts directive to remove unauthorised structures in Thane district.
Although the PIL had sought removal of illegal structures in Vasai-Virar,the court had expanded it to cover the entire district.
The state government,in an affidavit in 2010,had stated that barring Ulhasnagar,there were 4,95,483 unauthorised structures in Thane district and that it had issued notices to 2.1 lakh of them. HVSS counsel Uday Warunjikar had told the court in June 2010 that only 18,000 of the said 4,95,483 structures had been demolished.
The court was also told 2.38 lakh illegal structures encroached public land.
On Thursday,Warunjikar told the court that the committee had met only twice or thrice so far.
We would like to know the position as of today regarding number of illegal structures and notices issued,whether any were demolished and structures which got relief from lower courts, Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Amjad Sayed said. The authorities have been asked to submit affidavits by June 20.
The state government had earlier told the court that several steps like setting up a civic force within municipal corporations and councils,special police stations and special courts were needed to deal with encroachment and illegal construction.
In an affidavit in January 2010,the then chief secretary J P Dange had stated that the government had decided to undertake a survey of illegal structures to rule out the likelihood of some unscrupulous persons misrepresenting facts for taking advantage of any policy to regularise certain types of unauthorised constructions.
An annexure to the affidavit stated that municipal bodies in Thane was surveying encroachments on public lands and unauthorised structures in their jurisdiction.
The said survey was supposed to have been completed by March 31,2010.