The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has finally begun identifying illegal religious structures that have mushroomed across the industrial town. The identification of the structures is being undertaken by the PCMC following a recent directive of the Bombay High Court,which asked the civic body to act against all unauthorised structures.
Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi Monday said they had launched a fresh survey to identify all the illegal structures constructed before March 31,2012. In the present drive,we will identify the illegal religious structures that have come up in different parts of the town, he said.
There has been a confusion regarding the number of illegal structures that existed before March 31,2012. Though PCMC has submitted before the High Court that 66,000 structures are illegal,the figure actually is between 20-25,000. Due to the confusion,PCMC has launched a fresh survey to identify the structures and carry out a panchanama, said an officials.
Civic activists said illegal religious structures belonging to different communities had mushroomed on public roads,close to rivers violating blue line norms and on amenity spaces. They are also found hampering development projects or creating traffic problems.
These illegal religious structures are growing by the day. They get illegal water supply and power supply. Both PCMC and MSEDCL have been turning a blind eye towards them, said activist Sachin Godambe,adding that the municipal commissioner should first act against civic officials who have allowed these illegal religious structures to come up in their area. Since the new civic law says officials should be held responsible for illegal structures,failing which they can be sentenced to three months in jail,PCMC should first act against them, said activist Shridhar Chalkha.
He said the PCMC has clearly violated the Supreme Court directive on removing illegal religious structures. Two years back,the Supreme Court had directed the state government to ensure that local self-government bodies do not have illegal religious structures in their jurisdiction. Shrikar Pardeshi is so stickler for rules and regulations. How come his administration is found violating the norms? Chalkha asked.
Civic officials said the religious structures had strong backing of politicians.
Powerful politicians are lending full support to religious structures,which help them get votes, said an official.
Pardeshi,meanwhile,has said his administration would act against the illegal religious structures once they were identified.
According to official sources,illegal religious structures have come up in Ravet,Sangvi,Chinchwad,Kasarwadi,Gurav Pimpale and in fringe areas.