mid day editorial: We hope this is the end of illegal encroachments
With a dedicated and senior team of officials looking after the issue one hopes that it is tackled with intent and is resolved
Tightening the noose around unauthorised constructions, Mumbai's civic chief Ajoy Mehta has decided to depute a new senior civic official in each of the 24 wards of the city to monitor and act against encroachments.
Currently, the designated officials, assistant engineer or junior engineer, look after illegal structures and report to the assistant municipal commissioner of the ward. The new officials will be executive engineers with quasi-judicial powers and can work independently, a report in this paper stated.
This is welcome news for a city that struggles with illegal alterations and encroachments at every (literally) nook and corner. The alterations take up pavement space, street space, open areas around buildings and playgrounds that could and should be available to the public.
With a dedicated and senior team of officials looking after the issue, one hopes that it is tackled with intent and is resolved. Otherwise, we see cases dragging on in court for years together. Sometimes the alteration gets 'regularised', during the intervening time.
Illegal alterations and encroachments are one big reason why there is a such a gaping trust gap between BMC and citizens. The latter believes that the BMC is powerless to stop the illegalities, clueless about them and in extreme cases even facilitates these. This is an unfortunate situation and a prickly relationship between citizens and custodians of this city. The creation of this force and their effective action will go some way in changing the perception of the civic authorities. We need to close this gap which is detrimental to the city on the whole.
Importantly, this group of 24 has to ensure that once tackled, an alteration or extension does not crop up again. More power to this initiative and we can hope for its efficacy, right from inception to action and bringing about a solution.
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