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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Violating rules, MC using admn land for workers' residence

Vinod Kumar, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, November 17, 2013
First Published: 22:24 IST(17/11/2013) | Last Updated: 22:29 IST(17/11/2013)

Here is a case of a government body responsible for enforcing rules found violating rules itself. The Chandigarh municipal corporation has illegally encroached upon vacant land measuring around 3 acres in front of the upcoming multi-level parking in Sector 17.

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The site belongs to the UT administration, and has been used to construct temporary residences for the labourers working on the project, besides stocking construction material, all without taking required permission from the UT estate office. The corporation had started work on the `46-crore project on October 14, and it is expected to be completed in two years.

Interestingly, for storing building material on municipal land, both for public and private construction activity, one has to seek permission from the MC. As per rules, if the material is stored without permission, residents are challaned by the corporation. However, in this case the corporation has violated the rules by encroaching upon land belonging to the administration.

The land encroached has been earmarked as a hotel site worth around `200 crore. The estate office is planning for auction of both commercial and residential sites in the city, and this site has been included in the list of properties to be put under the hammer. For the auction, in fact, the estate office has already written to the finance department asking it to formulate the modalities.

Now, the estate office has slapped a notice on the corporation asking it to vacate the land immediately. Confirming it, deputy commissioner Mohammed Shayin said, "Permission is required for using government land for either public or private construction activities. However, in this case, no permission was taken."

While giving an example, an official added: "For using government land during construction of their buildings, all companies in the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP) took permission, and each paid fee of around `10 lakh."

Earlier, the administration had locked horns with the corporation over use of Jan Marg for ferrying truckloads of earth pulled out from the construction site of the under-construction parking lot in Sector 17. The MC was directed to use an alternative route as the road was not built for the kind of load the trucks carry. But the MC had termed the 'directions' as "rubbish".

In this case, too, MC chief engineer SS Bidda claimed the MC had written to the estate office seeking permission "a couple of days after the construction work started".

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