Apart from coming out with a policy to regularise unauthorized constructions en-masse, the state government has also decided to amend the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 to enable municipal authorities to demolish unprotected illegal constructions after a short notice period, and to physically stop ongoing illegal construction.
In an affidavit filed before the Bombay high court on April 4, the state government stated that it wishes to amend the MRTP Act to empower planning authorities – that is, municipal corporations – to demolish, after a 48-hour notice period, structures that violate the permissions granted to them, and those for which an application has been made but permission has not been granted. According to the proposed amendment, structures built without applying for permission and those built after the municipal corporation pulls down an illegal structure can be razed after issuing a 24-hour notice.
The most important part of the proposed amendment, however, will empower municipal corporations to physically stop ongoing unauthorised constructions. At present, though civic bodies have the powered to issue stop-work notices for illegal constructions or those that flout certain permissions, they cannot physically put a stop to construction. Because of this, most unauthorised construction activity continues unabated despite stop-work notices. The amendment will allow civic authorities to seize the machinery and materials used for the unauthorised construction and seal the site itself.
Apart from amending the MRTP Act, the state government has also decided to take administrative measures to control unauthorised constructions. It will instruct all planning authorities to form special squads to remove unauthorised constructions and to involve the police in the process. Municipal corporations, after the relevant rules come into force, will also be bound to make available to the demolition squad satellite images of unauthorised constructions within their jurisdictions every six months so that they can be demolished promptly.