Bombay High Court Friday questioned the state government and civic authorities over the tardy process of demolishing illegal constructions.
The state department of forest submitted to the court that 5,000 out of the 49,000 illegal constructions have been demolished. While the Thane collector stated it would take at least a year and a half to remove illegal structures,the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) had claimed to have demolished all illegal constructions in their jurisidction.
However,Uday Warunjikar,lawyer for the petitioner Harit Vasai Sanrakshan Samiti (HVSS),said the claims of the NMMC will have to be verified.
In a PIL filed by HVSS in 2007,the High Court had appointed a committee under the chief secretary to remove unauthorised structures in Thane district. While the PIL had sought removal of illegal structures in the Vasai-Virar belt,the court had expanded the scope of the PIL to the entire district and the adjoining town of Navi-Mumbai.
Warunjikar said although action had been taken against illegal constructions,a major part of the initiatives are an eye-wash. Local politicians and MLAs were behind the protection of illegal strutcures that delayed the demolition process,Warunjikar said.
Government counsel Sandip Shinde also said that certain persons with vested interests were preventing demolitions. The state government also informed HC that proposals have been received from various municipal corporations for constituting a civic police force.