The state government seems to have finally woken up to the problem of illegal structures mushrooming in Thane city.
Bhaskar Jadhav, minister of state of urban development, on Monday announced a probe into unauthorised constructions in the city.
“We will inquire and take action against all illegal constructions in Thane city. The government has already set up a committee under the principal secretary of urban development department to ensure that this did not happen in the future,” he said.
Legislators had cornered the minister in a calling attention motion in the state assembly over lack of affordable housing, which resulted in illegal structures mushrooming in Thane.
Shiv Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik, who raised the issue, said the government had handed over the land at nominal prices to developers, but it did lead to affordable housing stock in Mumbai or its suburbs.
He claimed that due to unaffordable realty rates in the city, people were buying homes in illegal constructions.
Alleging that that the Thane civic body had facilitated illegal constructions, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator Jitendra Awhad demanded that strict action be taken against those involved.
Sources in the urban development department (UDD) told the Hindustan Times that the government had already asked the Thane municipal commissioner, RA Rajeev, to give information on unauthorised constructions in the city from 2006 onwards.
According to anti-encroachment officials of the Thane Municipal Corporation, 5,432 —one-third of the city's 15,000 buildings — are illegal. On the whole, there are 2.30 lakh illegal constructions in Thane, including slums.
Meanwhile, UDD officials told HT that the state was looking to regularise illegal buildings in Thane that were dilapidated and hence dangerous. Around 560 of the 5,000 illegal buildings are in a poor condition.
“We have decided to give incentive floor space index (FSI) to such buildings to make way for redevelopment or allow cluster redevelopment where FSI of 4 can be availed,” said a senior official from UDD.
A committee of structural engineer, town planning official and fire brigade official will assess and identify dilapidated buildings.
However, the state government has decided not to regularise buildings built illegally on roads and nullahs.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan is expected to make this announcement at the meeting of all-Thane district legislators soon.