After the civic body extended its original deadline to submit suggestions and objections to its list of unauthorised religious structures, the number of objections received by citizens has jumped to 178. But, in spite of citizens’ responses pouring in, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided against extending the deadline.
Owing to a large number of temples and mosques in the city, several religious groups had asked for more time to compile documents and had demanded a 3-month deadline extension.
Deputy municipal commissioner (removal of encroachments), Anand Waghralkar, said, “We had extended the deadline earlier by 15 days. We have decided not to extend the deadline for objections any further.”
After conducting a citywide survey, the BMC, in December, had published a list of 742 unauthorised religious structures, 534 of which were to be demolished as they were found to be obstructions to road-widening and other development projects as per the city’s Development Plan.
The remaining 208 illegal structures were proposed to be regularised.
The deadline set by the BMC for citizens to submit suggestions and objections to this list was January 28, which was later extended to February 12.
The list of illegal religious structures was prepared by the BMC after the state government issued a resolution in May 2011 and formed two committees both at the BMC and the state level to decide on whether to demolish or whether to regularise such structures in the city.
The civic body will now be scrutinising each objection and prepare a final list of public responses to be submitted to the state-appointed committee for further review.
Public hearings will also be held at the ward level by civic officials to finalise a list and prepare an audit of all structures.
“The entire process is set to take another three months as an audit of all structures for which objections have been received would be prepared and presented before the committee. The state-level committee will then take a call on whether to demolish or regularise these structures,” said a civic official from the department of removal of encroachments.