In Mumbai: Activists blame KDMC for mushrooming of illegal buildings in Kalyan, Dombivli
The number of illegal buildings in the twin cities has gone up from 3,600 in 1990 to 2.5 lakh in 2017.mumbai Updated: Aug 03, 2017 00:29 IST
Although the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) said it is demolishing unauthorised structures, lakhs of residents continue to live in illegal structures across the twin cities of Kalyan-Dombivli. Moreover, the number of illegal structures seems to be rising with each passing year, thus contradicting the claims made by the KDMC officials.
“Ward officers are designated officers for removal of illegal structures. Also, there is a designated deputy commissioner to supervise the demolition of illegal structures. However, the work slows down during the monsoon,” said municipal commissioner P Velarasu.
The number of illegal buildings in the twin cities has gone up from 3,600 in 1990 to 2.5 lakh in 2017.
The RTI filed by Dombivli activist Kaustubh Gokhale revealed that of the 2.48 lakh unauthorised structures, 1.4 lakh illegal buildings will face KDMC action.
“The RTI revealed that the civic body is yet to categorise structures despite identifying illegal buildings. The number of unauthorised structures is much higher than what the civic body has announced officially,” alleged Gokhale.
He alleged that the illegal structures in the twin cites mushroomed because of the corrupt KDMC officials, who formed a nexus with the developers and allowed them to construct buildings without proper permission. Gokhale said to make matters worse, none of the corrupt officials have been brought to book.
“The corrupt officials sanctioned bogus documents in exchange for money and allowed the builders to construct illegal structures. There is a need to book such officials if the KDMC is serious about curbing the menace,” Gokhale said. He alleged that illegal structures include some of the recently built high-rises too.
Mohan Regency, a posh complex in Kalyan (West), was declared illegal by the former KDMC chief E Ravendiran last year. The civic body had plans to demolish the building that housed 2,000 residents.
But the demolition work was stayed by the Bombay Hight court after the society members of the building and other residents filed a petition to save the seven-storey structure. The matter is subjudice.
On July 11, 2016, Ravendiran passed an order declaring that the building was illegal as it was built using fake power of attorney in March 2000. He was acting on a complaint forwarded by the state urban development (UD) department.
The KDMC found that the builders had usurped the land from the owner and constructed the complex comprising 418 flats and 14 shops by producing fake documents.
Based on this, the civic body had cancelled the commencement certificate (CC) issued to the complex.
The matter came to light after Shreenivas Ghanekar, an activist from Kalyan, took up the case in 2012 and complained to the Economic Offences Wing, Thane. The case was then forwarded to the UD department.
According to Ghanekar, the town planning department and builders Mahesh Lalchandani [Mohan Regency Complex], Vikram Shah, Nilesh Parekh, Govardhan Patel, Nagin Patel and Rawal [Mumbai Landmark Construction] alleged forged a power of attorney and claimed seven acres belonging to Kasam Rajkotwala.
“In this case, the civic body failed to take any action against the corrupt civic officials. This is the situation with every illegal construction in the twin cities. The officials who cleared the documents should be booked without further delay. This will bring down the rampant construction of illegal buildings,” said Ghanekar.
In his petition before the court, Ghanekar highlighted various types of illegal constructions taking shape across Kalyan and Dombivli.
“Based on my petition, the court formed a court commission to find out the culprits responsible for this mess. Based on the report submitted by the commission, the court asked the state to take action against unauthorised structures. But the government has failed to do the needful,” he said.
As per Ghanekar’s study, 85% of unauthorised construction is carried out on government reserved plots in Kalyan and Dombivli.
A senior KDMC official said, “The decision on illegal structures now rests with the state . As directed by the court, we have initiated action from our end. However, several illegal buildings can’t be razed owing to the court’s involvement.