ATP caught taking bribe: MC’s building branch under scanner | punjab | Hindustan Times
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ATP caught taking bribe: MC’s building branch under scanner

Following the arrest of assistant town planner (ATP) Banke Bihari for taking a bribe of Rs 1.25 lakh on Tuesday, questions have been raised over the working of municipal corporation’s building branch for not taking action on illegal constructions and encroachments across the city.

punjab Updated: Aug 14, 2014 14:22 IST
Harshraj Singh

Following the arrest of assistant town planner (ATP) Banke Bihari for taking a bribe of Rs 1.25 lakh on Tuesday, questions have been raised over the working of municipal corporation’s building branch for not taking action on illegal constructions and encroachments across the city.

Though allegations have been levelled against some staff members of the building branch, residents claim that the MC did not take them seriously.

Various assistant town planners and other employees of the building branch have failed to take action on illegal constructions, despite being aware of violations of building bylaws.

In spite of the Punjab and Haryana high court order, hundreds of encroachments in Industrial Area A, Giaspura, Haibowal Kalan, Barewal Awana, Chaura Bazaar, Gur Mandi and other areas are yet to be removed.

Not only Bihari, but also the allegations of corruption were levelled against former assistant town planner Harpreet Ghai who had been transferred without facing any strict action. Ghai was also accused of issuing noobjection certificate to a building that was violating the norms.

Recently, former health minister Satpal Gosain had accused ATP Monica Anand for demanding bribe for conducting any work related to the building branch. Gosain had demanded an inquiry into the case.
Besides, ex-ATP Rajinder Sharma was also accused of failing to perform his duty. He was transferred to Pathankot by local bodies minister Anil Joshi that too without the conduct of an inquiry.

City-based RTI activist Rohit Sabharwal said, “I had complained about construction of 25 illegal buildings in Zone C, but ATP Banke Bihari never took action against these buildings. Even the chief of building branch did not conduct any inquiry. The vigilance bureau should keep vigil on the staff of building branch and conduct more such raids to weed out corruption.”

Even sangat darshans have witnessed many complaints regarding the MC’s building branch. Complaints were also made to Joshi when he visited the MC’s Zone A office around two months ago.

Additional commissioner Rishipal Singh, who recently took charge as the chief of building branch, said, “The vigilance bureau is looking into the graft case of ATP Banke Bihari. However, we are taking required action against illegal constructions in the city. We are also conducting inquiries, but not publically.”