In the past six months, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has acted only on 18% of encroachment complaints filed on its website www.removalofencroachment.mcgm.gov.in. Data accessed by HT reveals that though the BMC received 9,412 complaints since March 1, it served notices to only 1,743.
The number of demolitions undertaken is even lower. Between March 1 and September 14, the BMC demolished 249 structures. However, the data reveals that of these 9,412 complaints, 1,046 were duplicated, which means similar complaints were registered by different citizens.
The BMC initiated prosecution, acting on 25 complaints in the past six months.
The website was launched earlier this year as a platform for citizens to report illegal structures or shanties that were built in their areas. Once a complaint is registered, the civic body conducts a site inspection, following which, a show-cause notice is sent. According to data, the BMC filed 3,576 inspection reports in the past six months.
The civic body gives the owner/occupier 15 days to submit the relevant documents. If the proof is found to be unsatisfactory, the BMC issues a notice to demolish the structure in seven days.
Civic officials confirmed that they received complaints about illegal alterations in actor Kapil Sharma’s ground-plus-two storey Andheri bungalow on the website. Following this, they served Sharma a notice under section 354 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act and demolished the illegal extensions.
The BMC blamed its poor performance on procedural delays and difficulties in adapting to the digital format for registering complaints. “The scrutiny takes time. We have improved in the past 2-3 months as far as adapting to the online process is concerned. We are expecting better results post-monsoon,” said a senior civic official from the encroachment department.
Citizens who want to complain about illegal structures can post pictures on the portal. They can also geo-tag the location. Once a complaint is registered, citizens will receive a complaint number via mail, using which, they can track the status of their complaint.