The UT Estate Office seems to have a pick-and-choose policy when it comes to sealing buildings for violation of bylaws. While action is initiated against owners of private buildings, government departments and institutions go scot-free.
A recent case is that of the building occupied by National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) that caught fire and collapsed last month. There were violations galore in the building. The owners stated that when the building was leased out to NIELIT in 1979, the terms and conditions included that the organisation was responsible for its maintenance.
But the Fire Department found several violations which created obstructions during the firefighting. These included additional walls and cabins which had been built without inviting any action from the Estate Office. In fact, till now no action has been taken against NIELIT.
A similar situation was witnessed during the sealing of offices in a building in Sector 17 on Saturday. While most of the offices were sealed, the one where a Punjab government department was operating was allowed to remain open despite the violations. A notice had been served to this office as well, but after taking an affidavit that the violations would be rectified, additional time was given.
Varinder Guleria, member of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, said, “We agree that violations should be removed. This is what was discussed at a meeting that was held on Saturday. The occupants whose offices have been sealed will meet the DC and assure that they will remove the violations. However, the Estate Office should also take action against buildings occupied by government departments.’’
Among the government buildings where violations are present is one belonging to the Registering and Licensing Authority in Sector 17. Temporary sheds have been created where the applicants get their work done. A new structure has been constructed to accommodate those applying for high-security registration plates.
The building of the Municipal Corporation too has several violations. Offices have been constructed in the basement where two-wheelers are also parked. Actually, the entire space was earmarked for parking. The upper storeys have cabins that have been created using partitions. It is common to find electricity wires loosely hanging here.
The building of the sub-divisional office in Sector 17 is replete with violations and has been served with a notice by the Fire Department. But no attempt has been made for removal of the violations. The Secretariat and the Assembly buildings, which are occupied by the Punjab and Haryana governments, have blatant violations, but the administration does not even look at them.
However, an official of the Estate Office said that notices were also sent to government buildings for violations. “We have assurance that the violations will be removed,” he said, adding that for violations in the Secretariat and Assembly, the respective state governments had been apprised.