Now, senior civic officials to curb encroachments in Mumbai

Updated: Mar 08, 2019, 16:17 IST | Arita Sarkar

The decision comes after the civic chief last year curbed the powers of junior ward-level officials following complaints of corruption. The 24 new officials will be appointed this week

Now, senior civic officials to curb encroachments in Mumbai
Ajoy Mehta

Tightening the noose around unauthorised constructions, the municipal commissioner 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.

Civic officials have said that the junior engineers are too inexperienced to deal with cases of encroachment. "They would often make errors in the paperwork which led to legal troubles. A stay would thus often be ordered on demolition in the court," he said.The civic administration realised that they needed senior officials to take up the responsibility. Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said that the new appointees will have to ensure that construction in the ward is in sync with the plans sanctioned by the Building Proposal department.

"We want to strengthen the ward level structure for compliance. Since they are designated by the municipal commissioner, these executive engineers will have quasi-judicial authority to inspect and take action against illegal encroachments," he said. Mehta explained that though the executive engineers will take help from the assistant municipal commissioner and the Building Factory department while carrying out demolition, they will take decisions on their own and will follow the matter in the court as well. The decision comes after the civic chief last year curbed the powers of junior ward-level officials following complaints of corruption. The 24 new officials will be appointed this week.

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