The forest department,while distancing itself from in Mumbra building collapse,has now issued demolition notices to owners of 16,500 illegal structures on its land. The department Tuesday demolished nine structures to which notices had been sent recently.
These structures are in violation of Forest Land rules. Though demilition notices have been issued,residents and other occupants have been given time to vacate the premises, said Sudhir Padawale,Assistant Conservator of Forests.
Some structures are hutments and have five-six residents,some are multi-storeyed structures and have 100 residents on an average, said an official.
Forest officials,however,claim that rehabilitation of such families is the governments responsibility.
We were given notices a few days ago. They came for demolition today. We cannot afford to rent another place and will have to spend the night on the road, said Anil Bajwa,resident of a ground-plus-two structure in Shil Phata in Mumbra.
Some residents said they would lodge a complaint against the builder and demand rehabilitation. Civic officials said hundreds of structures in Mumbra,Kausa,Kalwa and Diva in Thane have come up on encroached government land,marshlands or nullahs.
Following the Mumbra incident,TMC alleged that the land where the building stood belonged to the forest department and the corporation had no role to play in approving the construction.
Forest officials denied their ownership. The land belonged to the forest department before 1978 following which it was in the hands of private owners, said a senior forest official.