Despite the orders of Punjab and Haryana high court, the municipal corporation (MC) has failed to start charging fine of Rs 500 per day from the roadside encroachments that are a common scene across the city.
While disposing of a contempt petition in 2012, the Punjab and Haryana high court had directed the MC authorities that there shall also be a penalty of Rs 500 per day on the encroacher.
At present, the MC issues challans to the encroachers, but fine is not being charged, and matter is forwarded to the court. Due to the lackadaisical attitude of MC officials, shopkeepers again encroach upon the area to run their businesses after every drive.
Recently, the municipal corporation had taken action against roadside encroachments made by the shopkeepers in Field Ganj, Sarabha Nagar, near Clock Tower, Jawahar Nagar and other areas of city, but in vain as the encroachers did not follow the directions of the civic body. Moreover, despite several appeals by the MC, majority of the shopkeepers continue to break rules.
As per the sources, the financial condition of MC is poor, and if they start taking fine from the encroachers on regular basis, the condition will improve. According to the sources, the MC has also no record of the articles seized during the anti-encroachment drives in the past.
Even the chief vigilance officer (CVO) of local bodies department had directed the MC commissioner in 2012 that fine should be charged as Rs 500 per day and if encroacher continues the violation then legal action should also be taken against him.
A city resident, Rohit Sabharwal, said, “I had complained to CVO regarding encroachments on roads in Jawahar Nagar and Dandi Swami around two years ago. The CVO had then directed the MC commissioner to charge a fine of Rs 500 per day, but no policy has been introduced in this regard till now. If MC charges a fine of Rs 500 daily, it can collect Rs 15,000 every month from an encroacher.”
Besides, the judge had also ordered that any encroachment made by an influential/powerful or mighty person(s), who is owner/proprietor of a residential house of 500 sq yards plot or above or of a commercial property above the size of a booth, shall be viewed seriously and the penalty in such a case shall not be less than Rs 10,000 per week.
MC Zone-D tehbazari wing superintendent Neeraj Jain said, “We are conducting anti-encroachment drives regularly, and 600 challans have been issued to the violators in the past six months. I recently took charge as superintendent and I will look into the matter.”
When asked about MC not charging fine, Jain said, “I will check if there are any directions regarding taking fine, by the high court.”
MC commissioner Pradeep Kumar Agarwal was not available for comment.