Relief for Ulhasnagar residents as 855 buildings get push for legal tag
The Bombay high court (HC) has extended the matter of regularising the illegal structures by another six weeks after Sudhakar Deshmukh, Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) commissioner, filed an affidavit in the court on September 3.Updated: Sep 12, 2019 00:12 IST
Residents and activists in Ulhasnagar are urging the civic body to regularise 855 illegal structures in the city, a month after a five-storey building in Ulhasnagar camp 3 came crumbling down. Mahak Apartments on Link Road was 25 years old. There were no casualties in the August 13 mishap and 15 families were evacuated safely.
The Bombay high court (HC) has extended the matter of regularising the illegal structures by another six weeks after Sudhakar Deshmukh, Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) commissioner, filed an affidavit in the court on September 3.
“The court will decide the matter after six weeks. I have filed an affidavit stating the status of the regularisation work, the legal hurdles, why is it important for the city and the current scenario,” Deshmukh said.
On September 9, Deshmukh was appointed the designated authority to regularise the 855 illegal structures. The power was earlier with the Thane collector. The notification was passed by the state’s urban development department (UDD).
“We are expecting a positive outcome before the model code of conduct [for the state assembly elections sets in]. I will do my best for the city,” Deshmukh said
After the collapse of Mahak Apartments, around 500 residents were left homeless.
Earlier on June 15, the HC directed the civic body chief to file an affidavit with all the details on the earlier order passed by the court. In April 2005, a division bench of the HC directed the UMC to demolish irregular structures in its jurisdiction following a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by H Tanwani. This prompted the Regularisation of Unauthorised Developments in the City of Ulhasnagar Act, 2006.
In January 2006, in a major relief to residents of these 855 buildings, HC stayed their demolition for 18 months in view of declaration of ordinance by the state to regularise illegal structures that have come up since January 1, 2005.
The state told the court that the ordinance had been promulgated to regularise the illegal structures in Ulhasnagar with riders and said it would take 18 months for the authorities to complete the process.
In view of this, the court stayed its earlier order for 18 months.
The process of regularisation was initiated under the ordinance. The civic body served notices to 1.5 lakh residents in the city, asking them to apply for regularisation.
It received responses only from 21,000 residents. Of the 21,000, around 14,000 were from the slums and they had to be dealt with according to the Slum Rehabilitation Act, so they were excluded from the list. The other respondents were considered for regularisation and then the Thane collector was appointed for the work.
The Thane collector started regularisation of 855 illegal structures, and work was carried out till 2013. The work was later stalled owing to his work load. Of the 855 illegal structures, only 79 have been regularised.
“The population has increased and so have illegal constructions. With no regulations in place, structures mushroomed,” said Sashikant Dayma, social activist.