A day after ordering the Patiala Development Authority (PDA) to seal commercial establishments running in residential areas, the Punjab and Haryana high court has now banned construction in illegal colonies throughout the state.
In the case Maanu Ram vs Punjab, a division bench headed by acting chief justice Jasbir Singh has directed the administration in all districts to strictly ensure that no further construction took place in illegal colonies. A copy of this judgment, which was received by the Patiala district administration on Thursday, ordered officials to immediately demolish all such buildings that would come up after these orders.
“We have received a copy of the orders and a special team of officers has been formed to monitor activities in the illegal colonies,” Patiala additional deputy commissioner Anandita Mitra said. “As per orders, the sub-divisional magistrates concerned have been made heads of the committees in every sub-division. They would be in-charge of monitoring illegal colonies and demolishing new constructions.”
Illegal colonies are a major problem in the state; in Patiala district alone at least 600 such colonies have mushroomed in the last 10 years. The state government has already banned sale and purchase of plots in illegal colonies. As per the orders of the government issued last month, during any plot dealing, it is necessary for the seller or the buyer to submit an affidavit that the property in question is not situated in illegal colonies.
Local bodies minister Chunni Lal Bhagat said in the recent past, the government had announced several times that it would frame a special policy for the illegal colonies. The latest high court order is a setback for developers and owners of plots in these colonies, who were carrying on construction discreetly.
On Thursday, following another high court order, Mitra, also the assistant chief administrator of PDA, oversaw the sealing drive of 101 shops in residential areas. A separate high court order had directed the Patiala municipal corporation (MC) to seal more than 3,200 commercial establishments in areas in its purview.