Special squad to track illegal constructions being mulled

The team will have to stop illegal construction by issuing notices and initiating action, says Chief Secretary Swadeen Kshatriya.

Written by Nisha Nambiar | Pune | Published: February 1, 2016 1:06:45 am

AFTER THREE years, the proposal to have a separate team to check for any kind of illegal constructions in key districts in the state, which includes Pune, is likely to get a go-ahead with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis keen to take the project forward.

The proposal was made by the committee headed by the Chief Secretary, Swadeen Kshatriya, to check on rampant illegal constructions in key cities_Pune, Aurangabad, Konkan, Nagpur, Nashik and Amravati.

The proposal was forwarded to the earlier and the present government, but due to the cap on recruitment for curtailing expenditure, the report recommendations remained on paper. During a two-day conference by state government for revenue officials, which was attended by the Chief Minister, the need for an independent cell to keep a check on illegal constructions was brought to the fore. The chief minister, then, showed interest in taking forward the proposal. The chief secretary said things look positive. “Hopefully, the proposal submitted should be taken forward. Our report was mainly for the fringe areas. The demand for a separate cell has been made as the area is too large for present system of revenue officials—corporation, council or a regional authority—to keep a check on,’’said Kshatriya.
The proposal recommended amendment in laws, appointment of a separate team from the district administration and the police, and even ousting gram panchayat members who have given permissions for illegal constructions. The report readied three years ago also includes the rampant illegal constructions in Pune as well. Even as PMRDA has been established and staff appointed, a separate cell and machinery is the need of the hour, said revenue officials.

The committee had suggested amendment to the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, 1966, Maharashtra Gram Panchayat Act, 1958 and Bombay Stamp Act, 1958. A separate 11-member team, under the rank of deputy collector, has been suggested and the report stated that the team was expected to take photos of the areas every six months and update the development in these areas. “The team will primarily have to stop any illegal construction by issuing notices and initiate action,’’said Kshatriya.

The government had given its nod to amend the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act (MRTP) and the gram panchayat act last year, even as it decided to make a provision to legalise existing illegal structures. The amendment to the MRTP Act would include decentralising the power to give building permission that earlier rested only with the collector. With the amendment, the tehsildar and the gram panchayat can grant these permissions and the state has empowered district collectors to take action against illegal constructions. The government, while making the amendment, had admitted that the illegal construction boom was there because of the complicated process of permission and lack of mechanism to curb it. Recently, the government had announced to do away with the non-agricultural permissions required to use farmland for industrial and commercial use to promote ease of doing business.

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