The Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has sent demolition notices to occupants of 171 political party offices in Mumbais satellite city. Following a High Court order this month, the municipal authorities found through a primary survey that these 171 offices were illegal or unauthorised constructions.
Thane Municipal Commissioner R A Rajeev said,Notices have been served to all political party offices found to be unauthorised. The due process of law will be followed now. He said the parties had been given 15 days to prove the legality of the structures.
As many as 93 of them are Shiv Sena offices. Mayor and Shiv Sena corporator from Thane H S Patil said,These party offices have been there for 30-40 years and they cannot be termed illegal. We have all gone to court and a stay has been ordered. The civic administation has been told not to take action until July. These are not commercial premises but political party offices conducting public work. TMC officials,however,clarified that only a handful of offices served notices had procured a court stay on proceedings.
There were 22 Congress offices situated on illegal premises,said Prakash Borse,Deputy Municipal Commissioner (encroachments),TMC. We have issued preliminary notices to these 171 offices. The parties concerned have been asked why their offices should not be demolished. After proper scrutiny,we will carry out the demolition activity, said Borse.
The action against these party offices was undertaken after a local group in Thane,the Harit Vasai Samiti,filed a PIL against illegal party offices in the city. The HC has now sought an affidavit from TMC.
Senior Congress corporator and leader of Opposition Manoj Shinde said,These offices should be considered as places of service for the poor. While some offices identified by the civic administration might be unauthorised structures,most of them are legal. These structures are in slums built before 1995 and come under authorised structures. We have decided to approach the High Court and ask for relaxation to be given to political party offices as they are set up for a larger public good.