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Illegal construction continues as civic body looks other way

Officials of the PMC claim to be busy studying documents submitted by the Chinchechi Talim Trust while construction of the illegal structure continues unabated with the ground floor close to completion, despite the civic body issuing notice to tear down the encroachment by April 18.

This newspaper has been reporting on the illegal structure being constructed by the well-known gymnasium located in Shukrawar Peth ever since the matter come to the fore.


No stopping it: Labourers plaster the walls of the ground floor of the illegal structure being constructed by Chinchechi Talim in Shukrawar Peth 

PMC officials seem to be turning a deaf ear and have not initiated any action beyond issuing notices to the trust to demolish the structure. The deadline has long since past and the officials continue to give excuses for their inaction.

Pressure from top
Some officials claim that pressure from higher-ups is the reason why no action has been taken, while others say the talim trustee has submitted several documents to show that the construction is necessary in the public’s interest.

Now, the PMC officials claim that they have been busy for the past 15 days studying the papers.

The PMC issued a notice to the trust under Article 260 (1 and 2) of the Bombay Municipal Provincial Act 1949, to stop construction work and to clear the encroachment on its own.

The civic body also warned of action if the trust failed to adhere to the stipulated deadline. Now however, the structure has taken on the form of an RCC (permanent) construction.

No time-frame
Additional City Engineer of the PMC Building Permission Department, Vivek Kharw-adkar, proceeded to call up the person concerned and reprimanded him, asking him to stop construction work at the talim in the presence of this reporter.

“The file has not yet reached me and I have told the concerned ward officer to immediately send me those documents. However, I can’t say how much time the procedure will take,” Kharwadkar said.

The RTI activist who brought the issue to the fore said that the battle would continue.

“I am tired of raising my voice after observing that the officials of the PMC are not acting on the issue while the Chinchechi Talim trustee fearlessly continues the construction work, but still I will not give up the fight for the cause,” he said.

How Chinchechi Talim illegal structure came to be
>> Permission was sought from PMC to conduct repairs on the talim’s old structure on May 15, 2010, for which the civic body granted them one month. 

>> Repairs were started in January 2012 without fresh permission from the civic body. 

>> On March 7 and 9, the talim trustee and local BJP corporator, Ashok Yenpure, approached the RTI activist requesting his support, as the structure was supposedly in the interest of the public.

>> On March 13, the activist sent an RTI query and received a reply on March 26. He noticed that the PMC had already sent notice to the trust on March 5, and a reminder notice on March 20. The notice mentioned that the talim had encroached on a side road by erecting a structure on over 600 sq ft. 

>> The RTI activist approached this newspaper on March 27 and the story was published on March 28, after which the PMC issued the notice under Article 260 (2) of the Bombay Municipal Provincial Act 1949, according to which, the talim was to stop construction and should have cleared the area within 15 days or the civic body would take action. 

>> As no action was taken, April 18 was set as the date for demolition by the PMC. However on April 17, the RTI activists was threatened with dire consequences by a mob of 30 persons if he did not stop his interference.

>> On April 18, the PMC did not take action and claimed that the trustee should be given time to submit their documents in this regard. However, insiders at the PMC said that higher authorities were exerting pressure.

>> Since April 19 to date, no further development in the case has happened. The talim has continued the work and construction of the ground floor is almost complete. 

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