In an attempt to target unauthorised constructions across the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to empower its Designated Officers (DOs) posted in all wards. Ward officials will now have to co-ordinate with DOs before initiating action against those involved in illegal alterations or found violating building norms.
After the fire at a Sakinaka farsan shop and at Kamala Mills that together killed 27 people, the civic body has initiated a crackdown on illegal constructions across the city. But the civic body is looking at making the action more effective, for which it plans to put in place a systematic process and mechanism. The process will bring in transparency, curb malpractices and corruption in the system, said officials.
The decision to empower DOs was in the pipeline since 2013 when the civic body had decided to form a ward- level committee, including residents and activists, to keep a check on unauthorised constructions. Following the recent fires, the plan that was on paper for almost five years is now all set to be implemented.
The majority of assistant engineers of the building and factory department of every ward are appointed as DOs. “The job of these designated officers will be to detect unauthorised constructions, based on complaints received and inspections conducted, issue notices as per provisions of the law, hear the party, pass an order if any structure is unauthorised and subsequently, the officials of removal of encroachment wing will conduct demolition,” said a senior BMC official.
The civic body has 64 DOs for this purpose in 24 administrative wards. Appointment of these DOs has been done as per the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, 1888, and the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act, 1966. Co-ordination of inspection and action to be initiated against illegal constructions and alteration will all be done through the DOs. The official said: “This will not only make action against violators more effective, but also help curb malpractices and corruption in the system as well as bring in transparency.”