Remove all encroachments in Doon in 3 weeks: HC
The Uttarakhand High Court has directed the state government to “use its might” and remove all the encroachments and illegal constructions on footpaths and roads in Dehradun and Mussoorie within four weeks.
A division bench of Justices Lok Pal Singh and Rajiv Sharma issued the directions to Dehradun municipal corporation, Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority (MDDA), and state functionaries concerned on Monday. The copy of the order was made available on Wednesday.
The court issued the directions after treating a letter written by Manmohan Lakhera, a Dehradun-based journalist, as public interest litigation (PIL).
Lakhera had in his letter highlighted how unsctuplous persons have encroached upon the public paths. After terming it into a PIL, the HC enlarged its scope.
The HC directed the state functionaries “to impose Section 144 of CrPC while removing the illegal structures built on government and municipal land, footpaths and streets.” It also directed the Uttarakhand chief secretary to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the officials, during whose tenure such encroachments came up.
“The disciplinary proceedings shall be commenced for the imposition of major penalty. We authorize the chief secretary…to constitute the nodal agency to supervise the disciplinary proceedings to be initiated against the officials who were found remiss in the discharge of their statutory duties. It is made clear that no officer, be it of any rank, shall be spared. The axe should not fall on lower class employees alone,” the order read.
The court directed the authorities concerned, MDDA and the Dehradun Municipal Corporation to seal all the residential premises, including basements, which were being misused for commercial purposes, within three weeks.
“..if the basement areas, which are meant for parking vehicles, are not used for parking purposes, the entire commercial building be sealed,” the order said.
Citing a report submitted to the HC, the bench noted that “the shopkeepers are first allotted temporary structures. These people convert them into pucca structures and thereafter they encroach upon the government land. The shopkeepers, though allotted new shops, do not leave their old shops. The so called encroachment drives undertaken by the Nagar Nigam and the MDDA are mere eyewash.”
Regarding persons who have taken advantage of rehabilitation policies, but have not surrendered their shops at the old places, the court directed that their new leases be cancelled and the government should take over the shops and auction then in accordance with law.
The HC directed the state government to carry out necessary amendments in the building bylaws of Dehradun Municipal Corporation and MDDA that no unauthorized construction is compounded to arrest the tendency of the people to raise illegal construction by paying meager compounding fee.
“The compounding of entire unauthorized construction is against rule of law,” the HC noted in its order.
Contacted, SS Chauhan, deputy advocate general said the contents of the order will be examined by the state government after which appropriate action will be taken.
Other important directions of HC
Stressing that unscrupulous people have been permitted by the officials to raise unauthorized construction on the bed and the banks of Rispana in Dehradun, the HC directed authorities concerned to restore river, which is an important tributary of the Ganga, within three months. The encroachment on both banks shall be removed within three months, the HC said.
The court has also directed the director general of police to ensure that there are no traffic jams in Dehradun city to avoid wastage of precious time and inconvenience to the commuters and pedestrians.
The HC ordered that secretary, public works department, shall be the nodal agency to implement the directions issued by the court, and in case of non-compliance, he would be personally liable for contempt as well as disciplinary proceedings.
The entire State of Uttarakhand is in Zone 4-5 seismic activity. New buildings will be permitted to be constructed after receiving the report from the structural engineer, the HC said.
Director, health services Uttarakhand, and CMO/health officer of Dehradun Municipal Corporation has been directed to submit day-to-day report to the registrar general of the HC about the cleanliness in Dehradun after visiting the spot every 24 hours.