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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Civic bodies told to start demolition drive

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 11, 2013
First Published: 01:03 IST(11/4/2013) | Last Updated: 01:05 IST(11/4/2013)

Following the building collapse in Mumbra that claimed 74 lives, the government has decided to initiate a demolition drive against all illegal buildings in the state.

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State chief secretary Jayant Kumar Banthia has told civic commissioners of all municipal corporations including those of Thane, Kalyan-Dombivli, Mira Bhayander, Navi Mumbai, Vasai-Virar, Pimpri-Chinchwad to start taking action against unauthorised and unsafe buildings.

"We are focusing only on illegal, multi-storey buildings categorised as unsafe. It's not possible to take on all illegal constructions in one go, as the number is too large. Also, evicting so many people could be a problem," Banthia told HT.

Civic bodies have been told to disconnect illegal water and sewerage connections to such buildings to ensure residents leave. Constructions that have come up in the past one year face action first. Also, buildings that cannot be regularised, like those built in Coastal Regulatory Zone areas by reclaiming creeks, on land reserved for civic amenities in the development plan, will face the axe.

In a video conference meeting with all civic commissioners on Saturday, Banthia also cautioned them that they would be held responsible for such activity under their watch and 'political pressure' would not be allowed as a defence.

Banthia said, "Civic bodies have been told to not target slums or one-storey structures in this drive. Focusing on unsafe buildings makes our action more feasible and ensures people in danger are protected."

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had assured the state legislature that the government was looking at initiating redevelopment of such illegal buildings on the lines of cluster redevelopment to ensure poor residents are not penalised.


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