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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Giving two hoots to HC order again, MC yet to act against encroachments

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, March 24, 2014
First Published: 21:47 IST(24/3/2014) | Last Updated: 21:49 IST(24/3/2014)

One month after the Punjab and Haryana high court directed the municipal corporation (MC) to decide whether it would regularise or remove certain encroachments and submit monthly reports on it, the MC has failed to act.

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The court had given three months to MC to act on the encroachments and commissioner Shruti Singh had assured to hear and decide on objections, and simultaneously if such objections were negated, the encroachments would be removed.

While hearing of civil original contempt petition (COCP) number 27, filed in 2013, on February 25, the bench of judge Mahesh Grover had directed the MC to submit a monthly report in the matter.

However, one month since the last hearing, MC assistant town planner (headquarters) has not received any reply from the four zones on how many encroachments were regularised or removed.

Rohit Sabharwal, who had filed the contempt petition, alleged that the assistant town planners were delaying action on encroachments, even as many new encroachments had sprung up across the city.

Assistant town planner (headquarters) Kamaljeet Kaur said, “Since the hearing, the assistant town planners of Zones A to D are yet to submit any information on whether they regularised or removed encroachments.”

“Only after filing the status reports from all four zones, I can tell how many objections were heard and decided. After compiling this report we will submit the monthly report,” she claimed.

The MC had identified 6,355 encroachments following the directions of the high court in a civil writ petition filed in 2003. The high court had directed to take action against the encroachments in October 2008. Later, Council of RTI Activists president Rohit Sabharwal had filed the contempt in 2013 as all encroachments were not removed.

According to MC, around 2,000 encroachments have been removed, while 3,200 were those, which were constructed when the areas concerned were not under the MC. But, still 1,000 identified encroachments remain to be removed.

MC commissioner Shruti Singh had reportedly recently gave strict directions to the assistant town planners to take the matter seriously.

Despite several attempts, she could not be contacted.

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