Unauthorised marriage palaces that were sealed last month on the directions of Punjab and Haryana high court have reportedly been unsealed, raising an eyebrow here and there.
Jagbir Singh Sokhi, a member of the finance and contract committee (F&CC) of the municipal corporation, has raised questions over the action and some city residents have demanded an inquiry into the issue.
In March, the MC issued a notice to 30 marriage palaces, ordering them to submit all relevant documents regarding their construction within three days. However, the civic body sealed only some unauthorised marriage palaces.
Questioning the methods of the MC building branch, a Gill Road resident Kuldeep Singh Khaira said, “If the marriage palaces were sealed on the directions of the high court, how can the MC unseal them without the court’s permission? An inquiry should be marked by the local bodies minister to expose the corrupt practices behind this move.”
Sokhi claimed, “Several marriage palaces are being unsealed by charging an illegal fee from the owners. The small marriage palaces, sealed recently, have functioned for the past 10 to 15 years but the MC never told the high court who the assistant town planner was when these palaces were being constructed.”
“There’s a mafia active and some MC officials pass information to RTI activists who misuse it. This must be exposed,” he added.
Earlier, the MC stated that it sealed 10 marriage palaces including Royal Marriage, Golden Hall Palace on Daba Road, Gill Green Palace in Ishar Nagar, Shimla Palace on Chimmni Road, Preet Palace on Phambran Road, Channa Palace near Samrala Chowk, Perfect Palace on GT Road, Platinum Grand Palace on Lodhi Club Road and Shakti Palace near Model Town.
Assistant town planner Harvinder Singh Honey was injured when Shimla Palace was being sealed, and the staff there resisted the move.
Municipal town planner SS Bindra said, “We gave permission to unseal only Platinum Grand marriage palace as its owner promised to fulfil all the norms including parking arrangements within 30 days. We will charge a composition fee against the violations. We have not unsealed any marriage palace that does not fulfil required conditions.”
“The owners of a few marriage palaces including Shimla Palace gave in writing that they will not use their property as a marriage palace. We gave all this information to the local bodies department and high court,” he added.