Mohali MC proposal: Pay and legalise encroachments
Mayor points to ‘hue and cry’ during drives to remove violations in residential areas, issue to come up again in next house meetingUpdated: Oct 25, 2019 00:15 IST
If Mohali municipal corporation has its way, VIPs and others encroaching upon public areas such as parks and road berms will be able to legalise the violations... for a payment.
Speaking at the monthly house meeting on Thursday, mayor Kulwant Singh pointed to the “hue and cry during encroachment drives in the city’s residential areas,” and proposed that the offenders pay up for the violations. “With this some of them will remove encroachments on their own or they will end up paying the money,” he added.
The next house meeting will discuss the amount to be charged, councillors will work on this and speak to the public to get their feedback, he said.
Reacting sharply this proposal, Congress councillor Kuljeet Singh Bedi said paying for encroachments would mean legalising the violations as the owners will claim it as their land. “It is not the solution, we have to remove them with an iron hand,” he said.
Cases of encroachment on government land are increasing by the day, especially in parks or on road berms by religious groups and VIPs. Tall hedges are grown and trellising put up to restrict clear views of residences, especially at turns, leading to increased chances of accidents.
Some residents have also fenced the green belt along the boundary walls of their houses to make kitchen gardens; others have built steps on green belts to climb over boundary walls and some have even extended the area outside the driveway to use it for parking.
In August 2018, MC conducted a survey and identified 4,200 encroachers in Mohali, but no notices were issued to them to remove the violations.
In a report published on April 24, HT highlighted how serving and retired administrative and police officials were among the encroachers.
In February this year, during the house meeting, MC commissioner Bhupinder Pal Singh sought a "free hand" without any political interference promising zero tolerance to encroachments, following which the councillors asked him to go ahead with the drive. No action, however, was taken.
Commenting on the MC plan, CL Garg, president of the Confederation of Greater Mohali Residents’ Welfare Associations, the apex body of 65 RWAs, said it meant that the MC had failed to take action against VIPs as they were “scared” of them. “It is sad, they are going to legalise the encroachments on public land. They want to make encroachers owners of public land too. We will not allow this to happen and will even hold a protest in this regard as it will set a bad precedent,” he said.