The island city may have yet another case of an illegal structure on its hands. Artham, a building of six floors, in Shekhadi Lane, Kalbadevi has come up without the required permissions from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. According to realty sources, the building costs nearly Rs 32 crore as per the current market rates. It has around 100 small-sized commercial galas (shops), each approximately measuring 5x7 feet. The land it stands on is around 1,500 sq ft in area.
The civic body first received complaints about Artham in January 2011. Ward officials inspected it and issued a notice to the builder immediately. The builder, Girish Jain, moved the city civil court and High Court against the order, but both courts ruled that the developer had to obtain necessary permissions for the construction work. According to the High Court order, dated July 5, 2011, the developer was given eight weeks to obtain permissions from authorities.
Subsequently, Jain submitted a proposal to obtain permissions from the C-ward office in August 2011. The ward forwarded it to the Building Proposal department, which rejected the request. Hence, C-ward officials issued a notice for demolition of the unauthorised structure on January 2012, under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act (MRTP).
The demolition programme began on January 17, 2012 with the help of L T Marg police officials and partial demolition was carried out for two days, in which the BMC punctured the top three floors, thus making them inhabitable. Further demolition had to be stopped when the developer once again approached the city civil court and brought an injunction, dated February 2, 2012, restraining the BMC from pulling down the entire building.
However, during a routine inspection of the site by a ward official, it was observed that under the guise of the status quo order, Jain had started reconstructing the demolished floors. The ward official duly filed a contempt of court motion against the builder. According to the official, the punctured portion of the building was completely rebuilt afresh. Today, the building stands all ready to be occupied, despite the civic authorities having never given any authorisation to start work.
Assistant Municipal Commissioner Sangeeta Hasnale of C-ward confirmed that the building was completely illegitimate. She said, “The demolition will take place once the contempt petition gets cleared from the court. It is completely illegal and we had taken action against top three floors earlier.” Mayor Sunil Prabhu also wrote to the municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte and demanded action against the unlawful structures. “BMC shouldn’t tolerate illegal constructions and should demolish it as early as possible,” said Prabhu.
The other side
“The existing building was six storeyed. We haven’t constructed it newly, but only altered and repaired it. I have not done anything wrong and I don’t wish to clarify anything,” said Girish Jain, the developer. He also conceded that three floors were demolished earlier.
The number of commercial galas (shops), measuring 5x7 feet each, inside the building