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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

Experts, state officials raise doubts over TMC’s bldg regularisation plan

cities Updated: Dec 04, 2019 20:23 IST
Hindustantimes
         

Though the Thane civic body on Tuesday passed a resolution to regularise buildings constructed in the gram panchayat (GP) era as well as illegal structures that came up before 1999, town planning department officials have raised concerns over safety, while urban policy experts called it a gimmick to launch development schemes to mint money.

During the general body meeting of the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) on Tuesday, the issue of the legality of the commissioner’s bungalow — constructed at a time when the city was governed by gram panchayats — was raised. The administration said the bungalow was acquired in 1984 and notified on the developmental plan (DP) of 1999. The administration stated that as there are tax records of the bungalow before this time, it is considered legal. Moreover, the general body claimed that as the civic chief’s bungalow has been altered many times even though there is no sanctioned plan of the dwelling, all structures constructed in the GP era, as well as those built before 1999, should be considered legal despite alterations.

However, the town planning department has claimed that while all GP-era constructions which have retained their original form are considered legal, those wherein alterations have been made cannot be regularised for safety purposes.

“According to the rules, if there are no sanctioned plans, the tax record or any other government document is to be considered for GP-era buildings. All the buildings which have retained the original structure are considered legal. However, those buildings which have carried out illegal expansion or alterations are considered illegal,” said an official from the department.

Regarding buildings that came up before 1999, the official said most of them were not constructed in the GP era, and came up after 1984 without any permission from TMC. “The civic chief’s bungalow was purchased legally by TMC and notified on the DP. However, some structures which have come up after TMC came into existence are illegal as they have no sanctioned plans. These are noted as illegal structures in the DP. The regularisation demand is mainly for these buildings and this decision is that of the state…it’s not in TMC’s power to take a call.”

Ex-mayor Meenakshi Shinde, however, claimed that there is no parity in the rules for TMC structures and private structures. “There have been so many internal alterations made to the commissioner’s bungalow. So how is this bungalow considered legal, while residents carrying out alteration or repairs in their homes considered illegal? The state has protected the constructions still 2012. However, this government resolution has still not been implemented in TMC, as the buildings are still tagged illegal,” Shinde said.

Mayuresh Bhadsavle, an urban policy maker from Thane, said that TMC’s resolution was a “political gimmick” to extend the timeline for illegal buildings.

“Earlier there was a cap for buildings constructed before 1995, which the general body wants to increase to 1999. They want to keep on extending the timeline so that all these residents in illegal buildings or chawls can be brought under schemes like slum rehabilitation or cluster development,” he said, adding the schemes benefit only politicians and developers.

“Residents are forced to move to transit camps while the rehabilitation is delayed for years. Moreover, developers are given saleable floor space index (FSI) to construct rehabilitated homes. Thus, the marketable houses are plush with all facilities, while people who originally resided on the land are dumped in cheap homes without any facilities. The claims that the regularisation will benefit residents are completely false, as it will merely lead to more and more corruption,” Bhadsavle said.