The two-day drive to demolish illegal constructions was halted yesterday after it came to light that a few senior police officers own land where the illegal
constructions are allegedly mushrooming. District officers, however, clarified that the reason the demolition drive was stopped because staff were diverted to the Citizen Facility Centre (CFC) to carry out essential work.
The cops, too, claimed that they only own the land and have nothing to do with the illegal encroachment in Shindewadi and nearby areas.
Resident Collector Anil Pawar said that as the CFC was facing a staff crunch, the work of issuing necessary certificates for getting admission was hampered and therefore the decision was taken to stop the demolition work and transfer all the district administration staff to CFC, which was engaged in the demolition drive. He, however, assured that the demolition drive would continue in the near future.
“I have informed all the tehsildars to be alert and take immediate action if any illegal construction was identified. However, presently our priority would be to issue caste, non-creamy layer and domicile certificates which are necessary for students to secure admission in colleges,” said Pawar. “We have a shortage of staff for the demolition drive and that’s the only reason we couldn’t take action on the illegal structures in Shindewadi,” said Pawar.
The demolition drive was being undertaken by the district administration since the last couple of days at Shindewadi and Khed-Shivapur, following the tragic deaths of a woman and her 14-month-old daughter who were swept away by rainwater gushing down the hillock at new Katraj Tunnel on June 6.
While the drive against encroachment saw demolition of 75 illegal structures on Tuesday, 162 were pulled down on Wednesday. Police also arrested Saffron Developers director Kisan Rathod on charges of illegal construction on survey number 112/A. He was later released on bail. He was accused of damaging the natural water flow, which led to the deluge in which the mother-daughter duo was swept away.
The cops who allegedly own property on land survey number 112/A in Shindewadi are Deputy CP (Traffic) Vishwas Pandhare and Superintendent of Police (State Intelligence Department) Dnyaneshwar Chavan. It is alleged that due to the higher rank of these officials, the district administration previously hesitated to take action on the illegal structures.
When contacted DCP Pandhare said he had purchased the land three years ago through an acquaintance. However, he said he never met Rathod and had no knowledge about his illegal construction at the site. “There is no question of saving Rathod from action,” said DCP Pandhare.