Deputy Lokayukta orders probe into seven bungalows in Yeoor

Published on Nov 24, 2022 12:28 AM IST

Thane: The Maharashtra State Deputy Lokayukta has ordered a probe into seven plush bungalows in Yeoor at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park following a complaint by Thane-based activists, who alleged that these bungalows are illegally constructed in the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ)

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Thane: The Maharashtra State Deputy Lokayukta has ordered a probe into seven plush bungalows in Yeoor at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park following a complaint by Thane-based activists, who alleged that these bungalows are illegally constructed in the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ).

According to the activist, the bungalows were constructed by an ex-corporator, while two more corporators and an ex-civic official have invested in them. Deputy Lokayukta has asked the TMC to submit a factual report if the area is an eco-sensitive zone, if the constructions are illegal and what action the corporation has taken.

As per the notification, dated December 5, 2016, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change declared Yeoor as an eco-sensitive zone.

Yogesh Mundhara, the complainant said, “In 2021, I had complained about seven bungalows which had been constructed by ex-corporator Suresh Gada’s company illegally in the eco-sensitive zone of Yeoor. These bungalows were constructed in 2019 without taking any permission from the TMC and the tax record shows that they are illegal. The corporation, however, failed to take action against any of the bungalows and thus, I complained to the Lokayukta.”

In a hearing held on November 11, Deputy Lokayukta Sanjay Bhatia, said, “The Thane civic commissioner should give a hearing to the complainant and cross-check the claims on these bungalows. A report on the action taken should be submitted to this office in 45 days.”

Yeoor forest has always been in news for such illegal bungalows, most of which belong to well-known persons in Thane and Mumbai. While the corporation had taken small demolition drives, no major action was taken against any of these bungalows.

Abhijit Bangar, TMC civic chief said, “There was a hearing held by the Deputy Lokayukta following the complaint by a social activist. The Lokayukta has given directives to prepare and submit a factual report on whether the area is an eco-sensitive zone, whether the bungalows are constructed illegally and what action we have taken against these constructions. We will submit a report shortly.”

Suresh Gada, however, refuted the claims, saying, “The activist is merely trying to extort money from me and has been behind me for two years. There are over 1,200 bungalows in Yeoor, how come only these seven are illegal? We have taken the required permissions for the constructions.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    I am a special correspondent with Hindustan Times and also the chief of bureau for Thane. I have worked in Thane for over a decade, covering social, civic, infrastructural, political and cultural issues.

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