After high court order, TMC starts razing illegal buildings at Diva
The action, which was undertaken following the Bombay high court’s (HC) directives to raze structures built on land previously occupied by mangroves in Diva and Mumbra, faced a lot of opposition.Updated: Sep 15, 2019 04:20 IST
In a major demolition drive in Diva, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) targeted six illegal buildings, one chawl and a bungalow on Saturday.
The civic body demolished one building and cut off water and power supply to the other illegal structures to ensure that people do not occupy them.
Around 260 residents are homeless after the drive and looking for an alternative accommodation.
While the residents of the illegal structures said they did not know their building was illegal and they had been paying taxes, the TMC said the residents should have checked with the town planning department before buying a house in the building.
The action, which was undertaken following the Bombay high court’s (HC) directives to raze structures built on land previously occupied by mangroves in Diva and Mumbra, faced a lot of opposition.
More than 250 residents, including women and senior citizens, gathered on the road and railway phatak on the east side of Diva.
TMC officials decided to start the drive on the west side of Diva, to stop the agitation.
Manish Joshi, deputy municipal commissioner, said, “The high court, in its directives, has listed a few buildings, chawls and bungalows (for demolition). Accordingly, we have started giving notices to these structures for the past 10 days.”
“At present, we have given notice to six buildings, one chawl and a bungalow. Residents were given a chance to either demolish the building on their own or we would do it,” said Joshi.
When the TMC began the demolition of a building in Diva (East), hundreds of residents gathered on the roads and stopped it.
Joshi said, “Despite police protection, we did not want any untoward incident and tried to reason with them.”
“However, when the residents refused to leave the streets and became agitated, we decided to move to the west. We have begun demolishing a building. We have snapped water and electricity supply of other buildings. We have ensured that residents do not occupy these buildings,” he said.
Joshi said the demolition is an ongoing process.
“People claim they did not know it was an illegal building. They should have checked with the town planning department before buying houses in the building. We are also in the process of registering cases against the developers of the illegal structures,” Joshi said.
Residents spend day on road
Residents claimed that while the developers have constructed the buildings by violating rules, they are the ones who suffer as they have no clue about the buildings being illegal.
Poye Malge, 50, a resident of one of the illegal buildings, said, “I have been living in this apartment for five to six years. In all these years, we were clueless that our building is illegal. In the past 10 days, we have got notices that the building is illegal. We’ve been paying water, electricity and other taxes since 2014; we can even produce the tax receipts. Moreover, if the building is illegal, why wasn’t it demolished at the plinth level? The corporation turned a blind eye all these years. We are homeless now.”
Nitin Shinde, 41, resident of another illegal structure, said his family had been forced to move to the streets. He blamed the civic body for their plight.
“We got a notice two days ago that our house is on mangrove land. This is a seven-storey building. We have paid property tax for four years, so how is the building illegal suddenly? We are on the streets with no food or water and have no idea where to spend the night,” said Shinde.