As the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is focusing on illegal constructions after a rap by the Bombay high court, it has come to light that the civic body has been regularly receiving thousands of complaints against illegal constructions.
The BMC received more than 4,500 complaints of unauthorised constructions between January and December 2010, but not even 50% were addressed.
Poor rate of compliance will make it difficult for BMC staff to follow the orders of municipal commissioner, Subodh Kumar, that illegal constructions should be demolished immediately. Kumar recently issued a circular saying that he has observed that unauthorised construction was getting detected only after receiving complaints.
“There is a lacuna in the system, so I have issued guidelines about taking action on illegal constructions,” Kumar said in a press conference on Friday.
He said the BMC can issue temporary notices and take action later on, if the building is old. “But if the building is under construction the action should be immediate and effective,” he said.
The largest number of complaints about unauthorised constructions is from the western suburb, mainly from Andheri. More than 1300 complaints were sent to ward offices in K-east and K-west wards, which cover Andheri (East) and Andheri (West).
Malad stands second with more than 600 complaints. “The western suburb has got more complaints compared to the island city and eastern suburbs,” a senior official from the building proposal department said requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Apart from illegal floors on buildings, many complaints are about illegal extensions to building premises, encroachment of compound space, change of users and about shanties mushrooming on open land.
“There are about 200 complaints from the island city, from Colaba to Mahin-Sion, and 900-odd cases of illegal constructions in the eastern suburbs,” the officer said. “In the eastern suburb of Kurla, there were more than 500 complaints and more than 400 were addressed.”
Demolitions drives continued across the city on Friday. Illegal extensions made to houses in Khar Danda and two illegal floors of a hotel in Dharavi were demolished.
The ground floor of the hotel was legal. Gas cutters were used to demolish the upper floors. Forty labourers completed the task as the local police offered them protection.