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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

6 illegal buildings, 17 shops razed in Thane

Thane: As the demolition squad got down to work at Shilphata, 25kms from Mumbai, on Wednesday they faced stiff resistance from dishoused families of illegal buildings. The squad pulled down six multi-storey buildings, 17 shops and 11 other cement structures on private land and protected forest plots. 

    While street action by the authorities was on in full swing on Wednesday, no person involved in the illegal seven-storey building at Lucky Compound that collapsed last week, was said to have been detained or arrested. 
    Thirteen persons are in police custody for their direct role in construction of the illegal building which crashed, killing 74 persons and injuring 65 others. All the accused have been charged under the Indian Penal Code with culpable homicide not amounting to murder. They will remain in police custody till April 20. 
    Police action against the four top officials of Thane Municipal Corporation and one police personnel here sent tremors of fear among the babudom in civic corridors. 
    Officials who served in the Mumbra-Diva area in the past are especially wary about the goings-on and are constantly checking up with close colleagues about the progress 
made in police investigations. Atop police officer did not rule out the possibility of arrests of some more civic officials. 
    Meanwhile, the forest department, which owns huge tracts of land that stand encroached upon by commercial godowns or chawls and buildings at Shilphata, mowed down the entire line of cement concrete godowns and residential homes built on their land. 
    "We have to clear the land of all illegal occupation. There were some protests as the locals tried to stop the demolition work. However, with police help, we arrested 11 persons and have booked them for trying to obstruct state offi
cials from performing their duty,'' deputy forest conservator G T Chavan told TOI. 
    The Thane corporation te-Jam, too, has been on an overdrive since the past 48 hours and has razed a gound-plusfour-storey building in Shiklphata area. A team of civic engineers also surveyed 35 residential buildings in Mumbra and realized that 17 of these buildings have got illegal power connections. "We have cut off the power connections,'' a TMC spokesperson told TOI. 
    The TMC also started a 24-hour call centre to receive complaints of illegal constructions. Phone number is 25371010; helpline number 108. 
BMC frames norms for action against unauthorized, dilapidated structures The civic body has formulated ten-pointer guidelines for taking action against unauthorized constructions, and dilapidated and dangerous buildings. These were presented in the standing committee meeting on Wednesday. Now, as per a modification in the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, it is obligatory on the BMC to appoint ward-wise designated officers to look into unauthorized constructions across the city. Some 64 assistant engineers at the ward level will function as 'demolition men'. 
    Amajor highlight of the guidelines is that action will be initiated and notice will be served to the builder, if he constructs beyond the scope of the commencement certificate (CC). The guidelines further state that all assistant commissioners and deputy municipal commissioners have been asked to identify illegal structures and issue notices under the MRTP and the BMC Act. The BMC-owned buildings, especially schools will be reconstructed or repaired. The civic officials will meet municipal commissioner for providing of police protection for demolitions. – Linah Baliga

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