The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has asked the ward officials to register FIRs against ‘repeated offenders’ who encroach upon open spaces, footpaths and roads across the city. Officials from the removal of encroachment (RE) department said it was observed that there was a rise in repeated encroachments despite taking action against them.
Recently, it was observed that many such complaints have been received where in the absence of any action, these offender have returned. “They just pay a fine and get their belongings back. So, many had demanded that a harsh punishment be given to them to prevent their return,” said an official.
The RE department issued a circular on Wednesday directing the ward officials to register FIRs against repeat offenders under Maharashtra Region and Town Planning (MRTP) Act.
“Ward officials have been directed to register FIRs under the MRTP Act against repeated offenders and initiate further criminal proceedings. Also, further action must be carried out in a time-bound manner to ensure that such illegal encroachments are prevented,” read the circular issued by Milin Sawant, deputy municipal commissioner of RE department.
The civic body’s move comes following the demand made by BJP MLA Ameet Satam last week in a meeting held with civic chief Ajoy Mehta and officials from the RE department.
“I demanded that strict under MRTP should be initiated. BMC then sought a legal opinion on it and issued a circular accordingly under which the FIRs can be filed and the encroachers can be prosecuted. Now, civic body must take the action to ensure that repeat offenders are handed out harshest punishment,” said Satam.
Satam added that so far, the routine action has been taken and no FIR registered in such matters. The encroachers who built shanties on footpaths and open spaces return next day after being evicted. Now, it would not be possible for them to do so, said Satam.