Commenting on the government’s renewed action against illegal structures following the Mumbra building collapse, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said on Saturday that illegal structures of public representatives be razed before making innocent residents homeless in demolition drives in Thane and Mumbra.
He said the state should make sustained efforts to regularise such structures, either on the lines of the project implemented in Ulhasnagar or by offering residents alternate accommodation before forcing them out.
“I’m told that 70% of Thane’s structures are illegal. The government cannot make so many people leave the home they have bought or constructed with hard-earned money. These people were cheated by some people, who need to be punished severely,” Pawar said in a press conference in Thane on Saturday.
Pawar said he would have a discussion with the chief minister about imposing extra taxes and legalising buildings that are structurally safe.
Pawar sought to know why forest officials had taken so long to take action against structures on forest land in Mumbra.
“Some residents told me they have been staying there for at least 50 years. I think forest officials were busy with other important work.”