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Illegal structures to get safety net

Decision on regularisation in lieu of a fine will be announced by month-end: CM

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: April 2, 2015 6:31:59 am
Illegal construction Occupants of a Valvekarwadi house resist its demolition by PCMC staff Wednesday. (Source: Express photo Rajesh Stephen)

The demolition drive is back to haunt property owners in Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation limits. The PCMC, which had kept the issue in abeyance, has resumed the drive to adhere to a Bombay High Court order. The state government, which had earlier promised to regularise illegal structures in Pimpri-Chinchwad and other urban areas of the state after levying a fine has reiterated its promise. As a thumb rule, the structures that would stand safely and have not veered too far from building norms were supposed to be regularised.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced in the Assembly that illegal structures will be regularised. His promise came after Pimpri-Chinchwad MLAs Laxman Jagtap and Mahesh Landge raised the issue during a Calling Attention motion. Fadnavis said that his government had already accepted, “in-principle”, an expert panel report for regularisation of such structures. A formal decision will be announced by the end of April. At least 2 lakh unauthorised buildings in Maharashtra stand to be legalised, sources said.

However, eyebrows are being raised at the intent. Three urban local bodies in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Navi Mumbai, Ambernath, and Badlapur — all three areas have a pronounced problem of illegal constructions — are going to polls on April 22. The Aurangabad Municipal Corporation polls will also be conducted the same day. Elections to Vasai-Virar municipality are scheduled later this year.

The move to legalise illegal structures is being seen as an attempt to woo voters ahead of elections to local bodies in Maharashtra.

In June 2014, the then Congress-NCP government had appointed a high-level panel headed by Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte to look into the issue of dealing with unauthorised structures in urban areas.

Responding to a Calling Attention motion in the Assembly on Wednesday, Fadnavis said the panel’s recent report had been accepted in principle. “The law and judiciary department has suggested some amendments. The revenue department will submit its feedback within a week. The state cabinet will take a formal decision within 15 days,” said the CM.

Official sources said that the report has recommended a one-time penalty for irregular structures that have committed zoning and floor space index (FSI) violations. The panel has said illegal constructions on land reserved for public purposes would not be tolerated.
Ironically, Fadnavis had lashed out at the erstwhile Congress-NCP regime for “shielding” unauthorised constructions when he was an Opposition legislator.

BJP MLA Laxman Jagtap, who represents Chinchwad constituency, on Wednesday raised a Calling Attention motion regarding the state’s action plan for the 65,320 unauthorised constructions in areas under the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation.

The Bombay High Court had earlier ordered the demolition of these structures.

Bhosari MLA Mahesh Landge also sought regularising of structures. Both MLAs sought a direction from the government to the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation to stop the drive. The CM said the government would approach the court as early as possible.

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