Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told builders on Tuesday to report officials seeking bribes and to call his office directly for any complaints in this regard. He also told the building industry to stop paying bribes, while ordering a crackdown on corrupt officials.
The CM’s missive comes in the backdrop of the suicide by Thane builder Suraj Parmar on October 7. Parmar had left behind a suicide note blaming harassment by politicians and civic officials as the reason for ending his life. Sources close to Fadnavis said that the chief minister has also directed civic commissioners to weed out corrupt elements in municipal corporations.
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A delegation from the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI-CREDAI), which took to the streets on Tuesday protesting against the reasons that led Parmar to end his life, had called upon Fadnavis at his office in the Mantralaya.
Terming Parmar’s suicide as “unfortunate”, Fadnavis told the delegation that he has ordered strict action against all those responsible for the tragedy. “I’ve directed Thane police commissioner (Param Bir Singh) to take the strictest possible action,” Fadnavis said. After the delegation expressed concerns over a possible threat perception to Parmar’s family, Fadnavis assured that “full protection” is being extended to them.
The delegation complained against the government’s rigorous taxation policies and policy paralysis. A complaint was made that despite the government’s assurances, the building approval system is yet to be streamlined. Following this, Fadnavis announced the appointment of a high-level committee, which will also have representatives from the building industry, to formulate a draft policy for streamlining and digitising the approvals system. The committee will be headed by Principal Secretary (Urban Development) Nitin Kareer.
The delegation also complained that online building approval system is yet to operationalise fully. Fadnavis said that the government had sought a report on how to further ease business rules and create a conducive environment for the building industry. The report, he said, will be submitted to him within a fortnight.