January 6, 2009 2:03:58 am
A mega demolition drive involving two societies and a total of 400 houses has been put on hold by the Rajkot Collector’s office following confusion over ownership. Neither the Collectorate nor the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) is clear about ownership. This,however,came as a respite for over 10,000 residents of the two societies,who,on Monday,made an intense representation to protest against the demolition. Earlier on Saturday,the District Collectorate had issued a 15-day demolition notice.
Meanwhile,both the BJP and Congress came out in support of Ranujamanagar and Aasapuranagar residents,who thronged the Collector’s office on Monday morning. As residents began chanting Ram Dhun amid heavy security outside,Collector H S Patel announced to put the drive on hold.
BJP legislator Govind Patel said the disputed land located on Kotharia Road,where over 400 units have come up,had been transferred to the RMC long ago. The Congress registered a protest saying that the demolition drive will render over 10,000 people homeless.
Patel said that any further decision on demolition will be taken up only after discussion with RMC authorities. The Collectorate,meanwhile,wants to know for certain as to who owns the land. In case RMC is the owner,the Collectorate will have to withdraw the demolition notice.
The Collectorate had issued the notice to make clear encroachments on the outskirts. According to the officials,some housing units have also come up on the roads,thereby obstructing traffic and development. The notice had asked residents to either go for voluntary demolition,failing which the Collectorate would do so after 15 days.
Both the Congress and BJP have asked local bodies to regularise these societies,as occupants have been living there for 30 years now and they have paid considerable amount to developers,who built residential units on agricultural land without obtaining a No Objection Certificate from the concerned authorities. In some cases,societies were developed on government land.
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