The municipal corporation (MC) is in a fix over the Punjab and Haryana high court’s decision regarding encroachments on the roof of booths at Transport Nagar area.
This area was transferred by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) to the MC in 1984. While the LIT kept the ownership of roof of the booths to itself, the booths were sold off to different private parties. Several persons built two-three floors on these booths flouting the norms, and no action was taken against them by the authorities.
However, RTI activist Rohit Sabharwal filed a contempt petition regarding encroachments on the roof of the booths taking reference from a 2009 case in which court had directed all municipalities of the state, improvement trusts and Punjab urban development authority that all encroachments falling under their area should be removed and legal action be taken against the encroachers.
Giving directions on the contempt petition, the court on October 27 had directed that the removal of encroachments would be the responsibility of MC.
The order stated, “A reply to the contempt petition has been filed in the form of affidavit of LIT executive officer. According to which, in compliance with the division bench judgement dated August 2, 2014 passed in civil writ petition number 11140 of 2014, a decision has been taken that the maintenance and for all other intent and purposes, the scheme shall be deemed to have been transferred to the MC Ludhiana.”
It further stated that while handing over the scheme to the MC, all layout plans, schedule had also been handed over.
Of the total 132 booths in the area, 74 have been encroached upon. The responsibility of clearing the encroachments from the roof of these booths has put the MC in a dock. The MC claimed that the removal of encroachment was responsibility of LIT that was the parent organisation that had built these booths. The civic body was already facing general public’s ire for conducting anti-encroachment drives in different city areas.
MC Zone B assistant town planner Monika Anand said, “LIT is the parent organisation and it has to take care of any encroachments in the area. LIT still has the ownership of the roof of these booths. On the other hand, LIT has never communicated their concerns to the MC on this issue.”