78 landowners served notices for illegal excavations on hilltops
District officials' survey finds illegal excavation is rampant on hills in Haveli taluka. Fines to the tune of Rs 30.88 crore have been levied
The district administration has issued notices to 78 landowners, levying fines to the tune of R30.88 crore collectively, for illegally excavation being carried out in hills across the Haveli Taluka since 2011. The action was taken following an extensive survey of the hills.
Surprisingly, a remarkable number of excavation cases have been registered in Khed- Shivapur circle (24 cases), where the district administration had razed 200 illegal structures after the Shindewadi tragedy last year (see box).
“There is a provision in the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code to issue notice of fine for illegal excavation. Accordingly, we recently issued notices to 78 land owners who indulged in illegal excavation on the hills since 2011,” said Haveli Tahsildar D S Kumbhar.
Earlier, Haveli Sub Divisional Officer (SDO), Snehal Barge had directed all tahsildars to undertake a survey of various hills in Haveli taluka before the arrival of monsoon this year to avoid any unpleasant incidents. Barge had also directed tahsildars to check on any illegal encroachments on the hills and submit a report to her in this regard.
“Accordingly, we sent all circle officers and talathis in Haveli taluka for inspection of hills. The maximum number of cases (28) were found in Khadakwasla circle with, while in Uruli Kanchan circle, there was one case of hill excavation,” added Kumbhar. There are around 10-15 villages in each circle.
“In Wagholi circle, where 17 cases of illegal excavation have been registered, fines to the tune of Rs 11.46 crore have been issued, which is the highest amount among the six circles that were under the scanner of the district administration,” said Tahsildar Kumbhar.
Number of cases
On June 6, a 30-year-old woman and her 14-month-old daughter were swept away in a flash flood in Shindewadi after rainwater came gushing down the hillside, which was an outcome of the incessant illegal construction on Katraj hill.
Following the tragedy, the district administration drew a lot of flak from various quarters and about 200 illegal structures were razed along the Pune-Satara highway in a stretch of about 6 km from new Katraj tunnel to Khed Shivapur. The administration and the national highway authority of India also razed illegal structures obstructing the natural flow of water near the tunnel to prevent such mishaps in future.