Dehradun: Mussoorie-Dehradun Development Authority (MDDA) has finally intensified its drive against illegal constructions in the state capital.
After sealing six shops with unauthorised constructions near Paltan market on September 18, the development authority on Thursday sealed two shops at Ghosi Gali and now has put five more shops in the area on its sealing list. The Paltan market, which is spread over 2.5 kilometres stretch from Clock Tower to Saharanpur Road, is one of the busiest places in the state capital.
The shops sealed earlier were situated right along the dispensary road, adjoining Paltan market. But, the five on the latest list are located right within Paltan market. A survey conducted by the engineers found that the shop owners had raised illegal constructions in violation of the Uttarakhand Town and Urban Planning Act rules.
Earlier in January too, the development authority had launched at least 20 sealing drives against illegal constructions in the same market. But, none of them yielded results as instead of shops, they focused more on mobile towers, wedding and banquet halls and other illegal commercial constructions. Due to poor check, shopkeepers at these markets continue to do illegal construction right under the nose of the district administration.
Kalu Bhai, who runs a juice corner at Paltan market, said, “Almost every shop has raised illegal constructions. Some have illegally put sheds outside their shops, some have raised construction inside, and some have made floors. Shopkeepers feel that no officer can crosscheck as he will never enter the shop for inspection.”
Banshidhar Tiwari, secretary MDDA, told Hindustan Times, “Our engineers are gradually surveying Paltan market and the adjoining areas having shops. Construction without the approval of MDDA is not acceptable. It is illegal.”
Mayor Vinod Chamoli said the Platan main market was connected to other small market places at Ghosi gali, dispensary road, Tehsil market, Rama market, Moti market and others. As such there is no survey of total shops located in Paltan area and its adjoining markets. But, the engineers put the numbers at 5,000 .
Apart from illegal constructions, one of the major challenges before the district administration and the development authority are temporary encroachments. Vendors put up their stalls along the main roads and shopkeepers extend their shops into the road causing traffic jams.
Anita Dogra, a resident of GMS Road, said, “The road is meant for traffic and not for shopkeepers. Women sell artificial jewellery on road, vendors sell household items and clothes, shopkeepers too have extended their shops in front. All this narrows the market road causing problems for commuters and visitors.”
In June 2013, a joint footpath survey was carried in Paltan market by MDDA and Dehradun Municipal Corporation. The survey listed over 50 temporary encroachments in its report temporary constructions return after they are removed due to lack of coordination between the police and the development authorities. Anad Ram, assistant engineer, said, “With the help of police, temporary encroachments can be removed. But, follow up has to be done.”